An Israeli woman who was found by security forces in a building in the Palestinian town of Beit Jala, near Jerusalem, early Tuesday morning claimed she had been kidnapped by Palestinians, although police suspect she may have provided a distorted version of the events.
The incident came hours after the bodies of kidnapped students Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrach and Gil-ad Shaar were found in Halhul, a village near Hebron in the West Bank.
The woman, 21, who worked in a gas station near the settlement of Beitar Illit, outside the Etzion Bloc, called the Jerusalem district police hotline on Monday night to report that she had been kidnapped after work.
She told police that after leaving the gas station, she had met a friend. After the meeting, she was making her way to a nearby hitchhiking post when a car pulled up beside her. Two Palestinian men inside the car forced her to get inside and took her to the building where she was later found, she said.
The police and IDF were able to trace the woman’s phone signal to the abandoned building. Police were questioning the woman Tuesday on suspicion that she was acquainted with the Palestinian men whom she had accused as kidnappers and had withheld critical information about the events.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops continued their hunt overnight Tuesday for the prime suspects in the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers, sealing off the West Bank city of Hebron and the nearby village of Halhul.
The bodies of the three teens who were kidnapped from a hitchhiking post in the Etzion Bloc on June 12 were found Monday after an 18-day search.
The two Hamas men Israel believes carried out the kidnapping, Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme, have been missing from their homes in Hebron’s Hares neighborhood ever since the kidnapping took place. They were allegedly in the car in which the three were abducted.
The two were still at large Tuesday, and Israel’s security forces were making intensive efforts to track them down. Three Palestinians were arrested overnight Monday in the West Bank.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.