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Salah Addin Brigades: the battle of kidnapping soldiers has begun

June 27, 2006 7:49 P.M. (Updated: June 27, 2006 7:49 P.M.)
Ma'an- Abu Abeer, the spokesman of the An Nasser Salah Addin Brigades, an armed group affiliated with the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) again assured Ma'an that brigades' members kidnapped an Israeli settler in the West Bank. The spokesman threatened the Israeli forces saying, "The battle of kidnapping soldiers has begun." "Resistance", he said, "will not release those captured unless the occupation 'kneels' and accepts the conditions".

Israeli security and police forces are looking for Eliyahu Asheri, 18. Asheri is an Israeli settler from the Itimar settlement southwest of Nablus and a student at the military college in Neveh Tzuf. He left college Sunday morning and never returned. The Israeli security is considering the possibility of claims by the PRC that it has "kidnapped the Israeli settler because Israel is continuing its aggression against the Palestinian people, and that the kidnapping operation is part of a campaign called "Knights' Rage". This campaign is "in retaliation for the killing of the PRC leader, Jamal Abu Samhadana, and the leader Abed Quqa."

An Nasser Salah Addin Brigades had previously confirmed to Ma'an their kidnapping of the settler, without giving any clarifications, saying that they "will not release any information about the kidnapping for the time being in order not to assist their Israeli enemy." Abu Abeer added in this more recent statement that the PRC "has taken advantage of the whole world being busy with the captured Israeli soldier in Gaza," referring to 19-year-old Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit, who was captured Sunday in a military operation by armed Palestinian groups, including the PRC, against an Israeli military base. The factions have made statements that they intend to trade the Israeli soldier for Palestinian women and children imprisoned by Israel.

Concerning Israeli allegations that they have intelligence about the location of the soldier, Abu Abeer said: "I am sure that the Israeli soldier is kept in a safe place that the enemy can't reach."

According to the Israeli sources, "following the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip last September, the PRC is trying to transfer their battle to the West Bank; the PRC is trying to establish active cells in the West Bank but have been unsuccessful since the Israeli assassination of the PRC West Bank leader, Jaber Al Akhras". Israel had claimed that Al Akhras was planning mortar attacks against the Israeli illegal settlement of Gilo between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

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