Please pray for Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri and Gilad ben Aviva
From the Jpost
PRC threaten to 'butcher' Asheri on TV
According to a Palestinian Resistance Committees statement Wednesday morning, the group claimed it was holding, "Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri," the 18-year-old Itamar resident who went missing on Sunday.
A spokesman for the group, known only as Abu Abir, told Al-Jazeera satellite TV early Wednesday that Asheri would be "butchered in front of TV cameras" if the IDF operation in Gaza did not stop. "Our patience is running out," said Abu Abir.
"I am announcing for the first time that the kidnapped Zionist Israel is searching for is the same settler who is being held by us. He is aged 18-and-a-half... and is a soldier in a pre-military academy," said Abu Abir, the terrorist group's mouthpiece. The claim was being taken very seriously by security forces because Asheri's middle name, Pinchas, had not been revealed to the public.
The PRC also said that no more information about Asheri would be given without a price.
Two days after IDF soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, was captured by Palestinian terrorists near Gaza, security establishment officials began assessing on Tuesday evening that the 18-year-old had, in fact, also been kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists.
Sources had revealed the assessment was based on circumstantial evidence, while the IDF and Shin Bet had no concrete proof, Israel Radio reported.
Asheri, a yeshiva student and resident of the West Bank settlement of Itamar, was reportedly seen twice on Sunday night, both times attempting to hitchhike. Rabbi Avihai Ronsky of Itamar told The Jerusalem Post that Asheri, a student at the Neveh Tzuf pre-military academy, was last seen near Beitar, attempting to hitchhike home.
A fellow student at Neveh Tzuf told police that he had spotted Asheri trying to hitch a ride at the French Hill hitchhiking post in Jerusalem on Sunday night.
Asheri's father arrived at the Ariel police station to report his son missing on Tuesday afternoon. According to police, the youth's parents had been under the impression that their son was at Neveh Tzuf, and that in Neveh Tzuf, Asheri's companions believed that he was with his family.
Asheri's disappearance was coupled with a number of alarming announcements and intelligence leads coming from Palestinian terror organizations that led security officials to fear the worst.
Shortly before midnight on Monday evening, the Palestinian Resistance Committees issued a statement announcing that they had kidnapped an Israeli settler in the West Bank, saying that the kidnapping was part of an operation called "Horsemen's Rage," intended to avenge the targeted killing of the group's leaders by Israel.
"One of our elements in the West Bank succeeded in kidnapping the settler as part of a chain of reactions against the Zionist attack, and as revenge for the blood of Palestinian martyrs," said the statement, which was issued by the Salah al-Din Brigades, the PRC's military wing.
"We have information about the attack, but we will not pass it on at this point in order to keep the ball in the Zionist court, and so that the Zionists continue in their confusion. We will allow actions on the ground to speak for us." The group also had formed a special unit to kidnap IDF soldiers and settlers in the West Bank, PRC spokesman Abu Abir said.
According to Abu Abir, the new unit, which consists of several dozen gunmen, is called Knights of Rage. "We will continue our attacks on Israel until the leaders of Israel are brought to their knees," he said. "[Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert and [Defense Minister Amir] Peretz must know that we will never be defeated and that we will continue to fight for our rights."
In addition, security sources claimed that they had received two independent pieces of intelligence information, one indicating that Palestinians had killed an Israeli on Sunday night, and one indicating that Palestinians were holding the body of an Israeli. On Tuesday night, IDF forces were reportedly combing villages in the Ramallah area.
Meanwhile, in Itamar, Asheri's neighbors were trying to do their best to search for clues that could help locate the missing teenager. In the early evening, a busload of residents, adults and youth, were sent out to comb busy intersections on Route 60, the north-south road transecting the West Bank, carrying pictures of the missing youth in the hopes that a traveler would recall seeing the student.
Other Itamar residents held a prayer vigil for Asheri, the oldest of six children, described by a neighbor as "a smiling, nice boy."
"There is a feeling here of unknowing, of concern, of wanting to do something," said resident Orit Deri. "We just discussed the fact that God tests us because he knows we can stand the test. We are strong and we are unified."
Eliyahu Asheri's father, an immigrant from Australia, and mother are veteran members of the close-knit Itamar community.
The IDF confirmed that ever since the attempted kidnapping of two teenage girls near the Tapuah Junction ten days ago, security forces have been received general warnings of kidnapping attempts in the West Bank. The IDF spokesman's office said that they had been working together in recent days with settlements' security officers in order to warn settlers as to the danger of kidnapping attempts.
The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln