Widespread Searches after Israeli Settler Goes Missing near Hebron

Israeli forces erected checkpoints and carried out searches across wide swathes of the southern West Bank Thursday amid reports that an Israeli had been captured by unknown assailants.

The reports said that two Israeli settlers had stopped on the side of the road south of the village of Beit Einun north of Hebron to repair a flat tire.

Israeli Channel 2 said that one of the settlers entered the village to get a wrench but never returned.

But police sources sources told Channel 2 that the car had no flat tire, raising suspicions as to why the two had stopped where they did.

According the channel, the two men are both 22-year-old residents of the southern Israeli city of Beersheba who traveled to Hebron to pray at the Cave of the Patriarchs.

They were on their way home when their vehicle allegedly broke down, the report said.

There is some speculation that the man had a criminal motive for being in the area, Israel Radio reported. Nevertheless, security forces are treating the disappearance as a potential “terrorist act.”

Security sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces called reinforcements to the area and erected checkpoints in the nearby towns of Halhul, Beit Einun, and al-Arrub.

Israeli forces closed several roads and junctions in the area mainly on roads 60 and 35. They raided several houses and stopped cars at checkpoints as well.

The Israeli military confirmed that searches were taking place across the area as well as reports of an “abduction” in the area.

The village of Beit Einun is located near a junction that connects the Jewish-only settlement if Kiryat Arba in the area of Hebron to a road that leads north toward Jerusalem.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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