Continued searches in the Tzfat region
Continued searches in the Tzfat regionIDU

The search for Hymanut Kassou, a nine-year-old girl who went missing in Tzfat, continued into their third day this morning.

The Israel Dog Unit is one of the organizations working to locate her. Aaron Strycher, the spokesman for the organization, spoke with Arutz Sheva - Israel National News about the search’s progress.

“As the search goes on, the concerns get stronger. There is no proof that she left the absorption center on IDF Street 9 in Tzfat, and she has not been seen since. We have no other leads as to what happened to her.”

“Two hours after the Israel Police were contacted to help find her, the police contacted other volunteer organizations, including the Israel Dog Unit, which began searching. This is one of the largest searches in which we have participated in recent years. We assigned this incident supreme importance because the victim is only a nine-year-old girl who disappeared one evening. No such thing has happened in recent years. The police are of course involved in investigations. We are involved in searching the city around the absorption center, but there is a lot of undeveloped land around it.”

According to Strycher, missing persons are usually found within five hundred meters of the last place in which they were seen, and he would not be surprised if the missing girl was found near the absorption center. Nevertheless, the search is being expanded to several other areas. ‘"There are thousands of searchers at work, including civilians from every part of Israel, members of the Ethiopian community, and others who came to help find the girl as fast as possible, because the threat level is getting higher. This is a race against time.”

“ I am currently in the Meron forest because the police have decided to expand the search to here as well,” Strycher explains, and added that the search is being recorded on a map. “We are searching for any sign that could help solve this mystery,” he says, and emphasizes the importance of the entire population taking part in the search. “ Every searcher brings something unique, and sometimes a simple civilian can be the one to find the missing person. That is why it is important to publish the search, and so everyone who sees it will be able to report it to us or the police.”

Regarding the concerns for the girl, Strycherstated that the parents in the area are worried about the incident due to other incidents in the region that have not been solved, and the concerns that there is something endangering children in the Galilee region. “There are parents who fear to send their children to school, which is another reason that we cannot leave a case like this unsolved. We must reach her, if only to allay these fears, which are at least partially justified. As far as we are concerned, all options are open, and as long as we have not heard otherwise we are assuming she is alive.”

Strycher claimed that the search was being conducted despite ongoing rocket fire from Hezbollah. He also emphasized that other regions should be watchful, as it was possible that the missing girl had been taken to a different area of Israel. “It is important for the public to be vigilant. She could be anywhere in Israel. Sometimes children have been found in different parts of Israel, sometimes against their will. We are staying here and not leaving this area. We are intensifying the search.”

Regarding his organization's dogs and their part in the search, he said “When an area has been contaminated and thousands of people have passed through, it is hard for the dogs to operate. However, if there is a specific warning about a certain building, the dog can give an indication, even if it is something hidden. The dog has a sense for finding things that we would not see with the human eye.”

He also claimed that the ISA should urgently join the search with the advanced search tools used by other organizations. “They are not intended to take on criminal cases, but this is something unusual.” He added that it is still not clear if the disappearance is related to either criminal or terrorist action, and the very existence of the possibility should bring the ISA into the incident, at least until it had been proven to be a criminal incident.