Soldier makes prank kidnap claim
Bad callBad call

Soldier makes prank kidnap claim

Police trace call to army base in southern Israel

Henry Dreyfuss, Princess Phone, 1959. Photograph: Johnna Arnold.
Henry Dreyfuss, Princess Phone, 1959. Photograph: Johnna Arnold.

An IDF soldier reportedly made a prank phone call to emergency services Monday, claiming she had been kidnapped.

Police traced the call to an army base in southern Israel and reported it to military police, according to Hebrew news site Ynet.

The “practical joke” came as IDF forces were conducting a sweeping security operation in the West Bank in search of three missing Israeli youths kidnapped Thursday, allegedly by Hamas.

One of the three teens managed to make a phone call to police only moments after the abduction, but police did not immediately report the call to the IDF because they thought it was a prank.

On Thursday night, Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gil-ad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frankel, 16, were abducted while hitchhiking south of Jerusalem, sparking a wide-ranging manhunt in the West Bank.

The kidnapping is thought to have taken place at around 10:25 p.m. Police received the call a few minutes later. Following the call, police launched a minor investigation, but only briefed the army and the Shin Bet security service on the incident at 4:00 a.m. on Friday.

A senior police official attempted to deflect criticism and denied any faulty protocol in handling the call, as he said West Bank police receive dozens of false reports of attempted kidnappings on a daily basis. The official, however, vowed to set up a committee in order to examine why the information regarding a possible abduction was not passed on to the military faster.

The officer who had received the call from the abducted teenagers was described by a Channel 2 report as “a young, inexperienced” policeman.

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Sunday afternoon that he was aware of claims that police had dropped the ball in failing to relay to the IDF information about the abduction, and that such claims would be examined more closely after the teens were located.

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