The three missing 16-year old boys from Yeshivat Etzion near Hebron are feared kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists. They were last seen Thursday night at 9.30-10 at outside Alon Shevut thumbing a lift after reporting to their families they were on their way home. One of the boys was able to notify the IDF tof their abduction. Heavy military, Shin Bet and Border Guard forces are combing through the Hebron sector, including the Palestinian villages around the town, backed by deep intelligence operations. But so far have found not trace of the boys. One of the missing teens is an US citizen. .Ambassador Dan Shapiro hs been updated.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a special statement holding Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas and his unity government responsible for the fate of the missing boys. He has held an urgent security meeting in Tel Aviv and been in touch with the boys’ families.
The Palestinian Authority has not responded in any way to the incident and no terrorist organization has claimed responsibility. Various extremist Palestinian organizations have of late increasingly called over their media and from the prisons holding terrorists for an all-out effort to kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians as bargaining chips for the release of jailed terrorists. Palestinians are crowding around the IDF and roadblocks thrown up to support the search and throwing stones.
Five Palestinians in the village of Dura in the Hebron sector of the West Bank were detained during the day over a burnt vehicle. Police are investigating the incident for any ties to the boys’ disappearance.
Israel has thrown up security roadblocks on the roads leading from the West Bank south to the Gaza Strip and east to the Jordanian border in case the purported Palestinian kidnappers try and carry the three missing Israeli boys outside the country into the Gaza Strip, Sinai or Jordan. Security has also been reinforced on the Lebanese border with special measures
In the absence of any physical or other leads to the boys’ whereabouts, debkafile’s intelligence and cyber experts point to some important aids for supporting the hunt.
One is to identify the cellphones carried by the missing boys, at least one of which may have remained active after their disappearance. This would enable the searchers to map the route and timeline of their movements, after contact was lost at 9:30-10:00 pm Thursday night.
Depending on the types of cellphones, there may even be a record of an area of hundreds of square meters on which to home in on by GPS – even though the hilly terrain of the Gush Etzion area does not offer the best conditions for cellular contact
The military, security and intelligence agencies are no doubt engaged in an intensive effort by Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) to scan Arab public and social media for the slightest clues. OSINT has become a valuable source of intelligence data for all the world’s security services.
Even taking into account that terrorist organizations like Hamas will use open media for psychological warfare and for planting red herrings, precious information can still be gleaned from Facebook and Twitter, and the chats, rumors and comments racing through smartphones, a mode of communication which has caught on with the Palestinians in a big way, especially youngsters.