Police Begin Investigation into Mishandling Abduction
Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino has launched an internal investigation into the police force on Wednesday, following the confirmed delay between a call from three kidnapped teenagers to police and the time the incident was reported to the IDF.
The team will be headed by Brigadier General Moshe Barkat, head of the Police Operations Division, along with six other police officers. The team will present the conclusions and recommendations in the coming days.
"I am aware of public criticism, and understand like anyone else [why there is criticism] about how the police dealt with the telephone call received on the 100 hotline on the night of the kidnapping," Danino stated.
"The police will conduct an investigation without making compromises or cutting corners, an in-depth and thorough investigation, into any claim or criticism voiced regarding police conduct [following the kidnapping]," Danino added. "It is our duty to do this as public servants, and according to the values of the Israeli police."
Danino did stress, however, that the issues are more complicated than they look - and that the real issue is simply to find the boys.
"All of us, especially in these times, must continue to be focused on restraint and professionalism, and recognize that our work is and is only to prove itself in the eyes and hearts of Israeli citizens."
On Sunday night, a gag order was lifted on confirmation of rumors that one of the boys had called the Kiryat Arba police shortly after the kidnapping.
One of the youths called at 10:25 pm, shortly after the kidnapping, and whispered, "We've been abducted! We are being kidnapped!" according to reports.
A source in the Israel Police said that the hotline did not take the call seriously and thought it was one of the numerous calls it receives from hostile Arabs who seek to overload it with false alarms. It was only when a brother of one of the abducted boys arrived at the police station that they understood the call had been real.
News first surfaced Saturday night that there was a significant time lapse between when parents reported the kidnapping to the police and the notification of security sources and the IDF over the issue.
As of Saturday, initial reports indicated a lapse of a few short hours, but some reports Sunday alleged that the gap may have been as much as eight hours.
According to Walla! news, the first inklings of a problem had been reported to police, or IDF officials, sometime prior to the first police report filed on the abduction at 3:00 a.m. Friday. A command post and checkpoint was established as soon as the police report was made, the source said, but the unit failed to report the incident to the IDF until over an hour later; the Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet) was then notified shortly thereafter.
Moreover, according to the report, the Judea-Samaria District Police were only notified of the early-morning call from concerned parents well into Friday morning; only still later was it clarified that the complaint indicated a kidnapping in Gush Etzion.
Criticism has begun to be fired at the police forces for tarrying in the report, as time is crucial in a kidnapping case.