Three Palestinian laborers were allegedly briefly kidnapped by masked men in the northern Druze city of Yarka early Thursday morning, in an apparent revenge attack after the body of a Druze Israeli teen was snatched by terrorists from a hospital in the West Bank a day earlier.
The suspected kidnapping occurred early in the morning, shortly before the body of Tiran Fero, from the Druze-majority town of Daliyat al-Karmel, was returned to his family.
Police said that unknown gunmen had fired shots into the air and forced three Palestinian residents of Hebron, aged 17, 19, and 28, into a vehicle.
Police found the trio near the location where they were abducted a short while later. The victims were bruised and were taken to Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya for treatment.
Police opened an investigation into the incident. It was unclear whether the gunmen were connected to a video circulating online showing five masked men holding rifles and threatening to go into Jenin to retrieve Fero’s body if it was not returned by Thursday morning.
In what appeared to be a hostage video posted online, one of the victims can be seen sitting on the ground, surrounded by the assailants.
“I am a worker in the Golan Heights. There are people here that are going to kill me if you don’t return the body. So please, return the body,” one of the victims said.
“An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. We took a traitor from you,” the alleged kidnapper said and threatened to harm the captive if the body was not returned.
Fero, who would have celebrated his 18th birthday on Thursday, was critically injured in a car crash in Jenin and taken to a hospital in the Palestinian city on Tuesday due to his severe condition.
His family claimed that Palestinian gunmen detached him from life support and grabbed him from the hospital, while the military and a senior defense source said that he was already dead when he was taken.
The kidnapping of Fero infuriated the Druze community in Israel. More than one member of the community cited by the Walla news site said that if Fero’s body was not returned quickly, they could attempt to enter Jenin and retrieve him themselves.
His body was returned to his family in Israel after being held by terrorists in the West Bank for around 30 hours. The body was transferred over at the Salem crossing near Jenin.
Fero’s funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday, with the Daliyat al-Karmel mayor declaring a day of mourning in the town.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.