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Police Findings Blame Top Officials for First Hours in Abduction

Top police officials ultimately dismissed one of the kidnapped teen's call as a prank - not first-responders at call center 100.
By Ido Ben-Porat, Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 6/27/2014, 9:02 AM

Israeli police (illustrative)
Israeli police (illustrative)
Flash90

The Judea-Samaria Police District revealed several details about the first hours of the abduction of three yeshiva boys by Hamas two weeks ago, in the first findings from an internal police investigation over a series of miscommunications. 

According to the report, released late Thursday night, two veteran police officers attempted to call one of the boys no less than eight times during the first hours of the kidnapping, after one of the teens made a call to the 100 emergency line which was initially dismissed as a prank.

After no one answered the call, the report said, the top-ranking officials in fact concurred that the call was a prank, and delayed notifying security forces of the situation for several hours. 

A separate investigation reported by Channel 2 Thursday night added that while first-responders at 100 were initially blamed for the delay, the agent to pick up the call from one of the teens actually followed protocol. 

Bureaucracy killed the call, however, and the investigative board has called for measures to be taken against the police officials responsible for dismissing the seriousness of the situation. Final recommendations over police action will be given over the next week. 

Last week, 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, minutes 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, thinking 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.

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.