Israel PM says teen's body kidnapped in West Bank
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Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Wednesday kidnappers in the occupied West Bank had snatched the body of an Israeli teenager, whose father saw him taken in critical condition from hospital.
Tiran Fero, an Israeli Druze, was involved in a "serious road accident" Tuesday in the northern West Bank, the Israeli military said.
"According to the family's testimony, the kidnappers entered the hospital, disconnected a child who was fighting for his life from medical equipment, and kidnapped his body," Lapid said.
"If Tiran's body is not returned, the kidnappers will pay a heavy price," added the premier, giving the teenager's age as 17.
Fero suffered critical injuries and was hospitalised in the city of Jenin, from where his father said the teenager was abducted.
"When I saw him he was breathing, they disconnected him from the machines and kidnapped him," Hossam Fero told Ynet radio.
"I'm asking everyone to bring my son back to me; I want my son back," he said, adding that the teenager died following his abduction.
Local sources told AFP the body was in the hands of an armed group.
Israel's military said one person was killed in the car crash, without naming Fero, while a second wounded civilian was transferred to Israel.
"The body was taken from the hospital in Jenin and is expected to be returned to Israel shortly, as a required humanitarian act," an overnight army statement said.
But as of Wednesday afternoon there was no sign of a transfer, while Palestinians in Jenin had set up barricades in anticipation of an Israeli army raid.
- Palestinian boy killed -
Israelis, or their mortal remains, have previously been abducted to be used as bargaining chips to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners or the return of the bodies of Palestinians killed in clashes.
The mayor of Daliat al-Carmel, the Israeli Druze hometown of Fero, implored local youth not to take the law into their own hands and attempt to retrieve the body.
"Do not reach the Jenin checkpoint or the city of Jenin," Rafik Halavi said in a video message posted to social media. "This may complicate the matter and change the equation."
Two checkpoints leading to Jenin, including the one Fero passed through, were shut Wednesday "following a security evaluation".
The measure also came after explosions hit two bus stops frequented by ultra-Orthodox Jews at the western exit from Jerusalem.
A 16-year-old Israeli-Canadian was killed and 14 others were wounded in the bombings, medical and official sources said.
The latest violence comes amid a spike in killings particularly in the northern West Bank, including a 16-year-old Palestinian shot dead during clashes with Israeli forces late Tuesday in the city of Nablus.
The Israeli military said troops fired at "armed suspects", during an operation "to secure the entrance of Israeli civilians to Joseph's Tomb".
Clashes often break out between Palestinians and soldiers who accompany Israeli Jews to the holy site, which is believed to be the last resting place of the biblical patriarch Joseph and is considered an Islamic archaeological monument.
In recent months Israeli forces have launched often deadly raids in the West Bank, following a spate of fatal attacks targeting Israelis.