The three teenagers – Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16 - were last seen Thursday night in the area of Gush Etzion. IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz said the current mission is to bring the three Israeli teenagers home safely and as soon as possible. “We are concentrating all of our intelligence efforts on trying to track down the missing individuals.” IDF forces conducted extensive searches for the missing teenagers throughout the night. Operations continue across Judea and Samaria to locate the three boys.
Many attempts to commit terror attacks involve kidnapping. During the past two years alone, terrorists have attempted dozens of kidnapping attacks, and their motivation to abduct Israelis remains high. In many cases, their goal is to trade civilians or IDF soldiers for the release of Palestinian prisoners.
In 2006, Palestinian terrorists captured SFC Shalit, an Israeli soldier, and held him in captivity for five years. Terrorists viewed the kidnapping as a key accomplishment, increasing their determination to abduct Israelis and trade them for Palestinian prisoners.
In September 2013, a Palestinian terrorist kidnapped Sgt. Tomer Hazan. The terrorist lured Sgt. Hazan to the village of Siniria in central Judea and Samaria, where he murdered the soldier and concealed his body in a water well. During an Israeli interrogation, the murderer confessed that he had planned to use the soldier’s body to bargain for the release of his brother, imprisoned for involvement in multiple terror attacks.
Since 2013, over 64 kidnapping attempts were foiled by the IDF in conjunction with the Israeli Security Agency. Most of these attempts were coordinated and directed by Hamas prisoners held in Israeli jails.
In recent months, other terror attacks not involving kidnapping have led to the deaths of Israelis. Just one day after the murder of Sgt. Hazan, Palestinian sniper fire killed Sergeant Gabriel Kobi, age 20, in the city of Hebron. In April 2014, on the eve of Passover, a Palestinian terrorist killed an Israeli civilian by opening fire on his vehicle on a main road in the area surrounding Hebron. In November 2013, Eden Atias, was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist while he slept on an Israeli bus in the northern city of Afula.