Israeli security officials warn that Hamas may be planning to abduct more of its soldiers. The warnings follow an article in al-Risalah, the terror group's weekly newspaper, which said Hamas plans "more kidnappings in the near future." According to translated excerpts published by Ynetnews.com, the article said Hamas realized that another kidnapping could lead to a military escalation in Gaza, which may result in the killing of Gilad Shalit. Shalit, an Israeli soldier, was kidnapped by Hamas from southern Israel in a June 25, 2006 cross-border raid from Gaza.
"The resistance is coming closer to conducting another kidnapping," al-Risalah said, adding that this "would create essential pressure that would lead to the release of Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel as part of an exchange deal." Israel, it said, "was worried about another kidnapping because such a step would pressure the government to consent to Palestinian demands."The last Hamas abduction took place during Operation Cast Lead, when Hamas members kidnapped an IDF soldier and held him inside an apartment until Israeli forces bombarded the building, killing the abductors and the soldier.
The article appeared to be part of a Hamas psychological warfare campaign aimed at pressuring Israel into agreeing to more concessions (i.e., the release of more imprisoned terrorists) in exchange for Shalit's freedom. A Hamas-affiliated analyst quoted in the article reportedly said that armed factions in Gaza "may at any moment change the equation, instead of talking about a prisoner exchange deal, they could start talking about new kidnappings."
Earlier this month, the Counter Terrorism Bureau warned Israelis to leave Egypt's Sinai Peninsula immediately, citing reports that Bedouin tribes and jihadists were preparing to kidnap Israelis. The warning came less than a week after Israeli Defense Forces announced it had killed members of a Gaza-based terror cell who were planning to kidnap Israelis during Passover.