Jerusalem – Soldiers launched searches in the West Bank on Thursday for an Israeli feared abducted since disappearing after heading to a Palestinian village for tools to fix a flat tire, Israeli spokesmen said.
The searches were the most widespread by Israeli forces in the territory since a June dragnet for three abducted Israeli teens whose bodies were found two weeks later in the same area, near the West Bank city of Hebron.
The area where an Israeli reportedly went missing in the West Bank on Thursday has a rampant drug trade and trafficking scene, Palestinian sources told the Jerusalem Post.
The sources said that in the past residents have attacked vehicles suspected of carrying drug dealers.
The Israeli military said in a statement that police had reported a suspected abduction and troops had launched “extensive searches in the area” of the village of Beit Anun near Hebron, near where news reports said he had last been seen.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenberg said extra forces had been deployed in response to an emergency call from an Israeli who reported “a broken down vehicle and a friend had walked off looking for assistance to fix the tire.”
The man who had sought help “has gone missing and there’s an extensive search in the area for him,” Rosenberg said.
“We are worried we are talking about a security related situation and possible kidnapping. But it’s not clear,” Rosenberg added.
Israeli media described the missing man only as 22 years old and from southern Israel. Neither the military or police would comment on his identity.
There have been no claims by any Palestinian groups of any abductions or attacks in the area.