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Hamas: Kidnap Soldiers as Bargaining Chips

The ’Azz A-Din Al-Qasam (the military wing of Hamas) Internet site published a call to kidnap soldiers as barter for Hamas prisoners.

The article provides historical background to the kidnapping of soldiers. It states that the ’Azz A-Din Al-Qasam brigades were the pioneers of kidnapping and that kidnappings, combined with suicide bombings, are weapons of intimidation against the “Zionist plan.”

The author of the article points out that the “reason for rekindling the kidnapping issue is the urgent call which came from prisoners in Ashkelon prison a number of weeks ago. The call was addressed to all the military wings of the Palestinian opposition to do all in their power to achieve their release, starting with kidnappings, taking hostages etc.”

Nachshon Waxman, an Israeli soldier, was kidnapped by Hamas in October 1994. The kidnapping was intended first and foremost to guarantee the release of Hamas prisoners [who included the Hamas leader, Ahmad Yassin] and secondly to scuttle talks taking place between Israel and the PLO in Cairo. The kidnapped soldier was seemingly killed during a rescue operation launched by the IDF. The article’s author talks a lot about this incident, which lasted three days. He also cites other kidnapping cases which resulted in the death of those kidnapped, such as the kidnapping of Avi Sesporetz in 1989 and Ilan Sa’dun in 1992.

In the course of the article, the author details the most efficient ways of kidnapping soldiers: kidnapping soldiers waiting for rides:

• it is best to have three people in the car
• who speak Hebrew and
• have light skin.

This way, the soldier will think they are Jews and will not be suspicious. The author details how it is possible to scour the territory before the kidnapping in order to check that there are no frequent army patrols. Likewise, it details where to take the kidnappee and other protective measures worth pursuing.

Another way, the author points out, is to seize vehicles. He refers to the seizure of a bus and a private car in 1993. In both cases, the driver was forced to take the vehicle to Bethlehem. In the first case, security forces succeeded in saving the bus passengers. In the second case, the female driver was killed in crossfire between security forces and the kidnappers.

Hamas published a detailed pamphlet a few months ago entitled “Kidnapping.” This picture appears on the cover:


The pamphlet describes the different means of kidnapping civilians and soldiers. It also lists comments on their effectiveness, what is needed to make a successful kidnapping and the best places to pick your targets. Kidnappers need to be physically fit, quick thinking and should know hand-to-hand combat as well as speak good Hebrew. Likewise, it describes in detail kidnapping objectives:

• releasing Hamas prisoners
• forcing those kidnapped to doubt the right of Jews to be in Palestine
• sending a message to the Jews to put pressure on their government to succumb to the kidnappers’ demands