Members of an armed Fatah militia which claimed to have kidnapped an Israeli Saturday transferred the individual in question, a U.S. citizen, to the custody of the Palestinian Authority before dawn Sunday.
The PA security forces subsequently handed the American over to the Israel Defense Forces. Defense officials believe once the militants discovered the person was indeed an American citizen, they took steps to end the matter quickly.
"Apparently, the kidnappers did not want to end up like Zarqawi," a defense official said. (Haaretz)
Carl at Israel Matsav has a good wrap.
Meanwhile, 0730 Sunday morning here in Jerusalem's southern Gilo neighborhood, and, as I type these words, the familiar clatter of the police helicopter rattles overhead. The helo's pilot and swiveling camera slung in the pod underneath scan nearby Beit Jala and other villages searching for Palestinians trying to enter Jerusalem from the wadi (dry ravine) separating the two communities.
In parallel, police and civil guard volunteers patrol the bus stops along the periphery of the bluff, as another line of defense, along with the “security envelope” being constructed nearby to thwart suicide bombers from also gaining entry. I posted a few of my pics and a report of that project here. But hundreds of Palestinian day laborers, women and youths do so daily, anyway, easily bypassing the existing roadblocks.
Outside my apartment, a police car-mounted loudspeaker calls to residents to come and identify a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot.
And how is your Sunday morning?
But with an all-time record of 97 terror alerts charging the atmosphere, and the possibility that an IDF-fired artillery shell, and not a errantly “aimed” Kassam missile killed seven Palestinians on a Gaza beach Friday morning, security forces ratcheted up their stance and are setting up roadblocks along the entry points between Palestinian and Israeli areas, in and around cities and highways trying to foil terrorists.
A police spokesman says just now on Army radio that they have beefed up their No. 100 emergency hotline, allowing more Israelis to call in parallel to provide alerts.
Elsewhere, Palestinians in northern Gaza loosed close to 30 Kassams at Israel in the last 30 hours, with my beeper reporting just now of one Israeli sustaining moderate wounds from a volley aimed at nearby Sderot, just to the east, while others slammed down in a factory in southern Ashkelon, reportedly causing some damage but no injuries.
Educators in the hard-hit development town are threatening to close down schools, if the government and IDF do not provide an answer to the rockets.
Looks to be a hot day ahead...
Make sure to stop back later today; I'll post pictures from here, and from in town covering the security situation.