The Israeli-Druze teenager whose body was kidnapped by Palestinian gunmen was still alive when he was taken from hospital in Jenin, his family members claim.
According to the father of 18-year-old Tiran Ferro, he had been connected to a ventilator and had a pulse when a group of 20 armed men stormed into the hospital and kidnapped him in front of the family.
Ferro had been critically injured in a car crash near Jenin on Tuesday and taken to Ibn Sina hospital in the West Bank city where he underwent multiple surgeries. He was in critical but stable condition and removing him from the ventilator is what killed him, the father and uncle Hady Ferro claim.
Hady Ferro said the gunmen burst into the hospital looking for the man who had been injured in the car accident.
“They fired their weapons in the air and yelled in Arabic, no one dared to stop them. They disconnected him from the life support machines and threw him into a vehicle,” he said.
“There was nothing we could do. It was a miracle we got out of there,” his father told reporters.
While there has been significant progress has been made by the Palestinian Authority and the mayor of Jenin in the negotiations with the gunmen, the body has not yet been handed over to the authorities, Walla reported.
According to reports, the Palestinian Authority Security Forces entered the Jenin refugee camp and managed to transfer Ferro’s body to a Red Crescent ambulance. But the ambulance was blocked from leaving the camp by gunmen.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz has been in contact with the family.
The spiritual leader of Israel’s Druze community, Sheikh Muafak Tariff was quoted as saying that he is speaking to all sides involved and that holding the body “is against all religious and social principles. I call on the Palestinian Authority’s security forces to advance the release of the body.”
Ferro, from Daliat al-Carmel in northern Israel, entered the Jenin area with a friend through the Gilboa Crossing and were in a serious car accident. The other citizen is in serious condition and has been transferred to Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa for further treatment.
Following the incident, the Jalame and Salem crossings near Jenin were to be closed until further assessments.
The IDF stressed that it expects the body to be returned to the family.
While there was no immediate public claim of responsibility by any terror groups for snatching the body, according to the uncle the gunmen belonged to Palestinian Islamic Jihad. According to Haaretz, the gunmen were demanding the release of the bodies of terrorists being held by Israel in return for Ferro.
Israel continues to crack down on Palestinian terrorism in the West Bank
The incident in Jenin came as the military continues on with its Operation Break the Wave, with a special focus on the northern West Bank. The operation was launched in response to a wave of deadly terror attacks that killed 20 people inside Israel. Since the beginning of the operation, another 14 civilians have been killed, along with four security forces.
A large number of terror attacks have come from Jenin and its surroundings in recent months. The city of Jenin has long been seen as the heart of the West Bank resistance and dozens of deadly attacks have come from its refugee camp.
The city’s refugee camp has posed a challenge to not only the IDF, but also the Palestinian Authority Security Forces who have been so far unable to get a handle on the terror. Despite differences, the security cooperation between the PASF and the IDF continues, with regular meetings between officials.