An Israeli teenager who died after a car crash in the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Tuesday morning was kidnapped by Palestinian gunmen from a hospital, the Israeli military said.
The uncle of Tiran Fero, an 17-year-old Druze Israeli, later claimed his nephew was alive prior to the abduction and that a group of 30 gunmen had stormed the hospital, asking for the “boy who had been in a car crash,” before taking him off life support and whisking him off in a waiting car.
“They were shooting in the air and shouting in Arabic… nobody dared to stop them,” Edri Fero told Israel’s Kan public broadcaster. “They disconnected him from the machines and tossed him into a car.”
“We saw them with our own eyes. They were armed, they came as if it was the intifada,” Fero, who was visiting his nephew at the hospital, added.
“If we hadn’t complied, we would have been kidnapped ourselves. We barely escaped and hid somewhere until [Israeli] security forces got us out. We were lucky. It was like a scene from a movie, hard to describe,” he said.
החוטפים בג'נין לא מוכנים לשחרר את הגופה
של טירן פרו בן ה-18, ומסלקים את האמבולנס שהגיע לקחת אותה.. pic.twitter.com/tyvRpWRsyh
— 🌏News (@kisis007) November 23, 2022
According to a senior Palestinian official, the kidnappers snatched the body thinking Fero was an undercover Israeli soldier, Haaretz reported.
The kidnappers were demanding the release of Palestinian terrorists imprisoned by Israel in exchange for Fero, the report said.
Fero had been driving with a friend in the city when his friend was later transferred to Israel for treatment via a military helicopter. Palestinian medical personnel believed it would be too risky to move Fero, so he remained at Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin.
The gunmen were duped into thinking Fero was an undercover IDF soldier when they saw the military helicopter and drones, Haaretz reported citing Palestinian officials.
Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid vowed Israel would retrieve Fero’s body, adding the kidnappers “will pay a heavy price.” The UN is brokering negotiations for the release of his body, a Druze community leader told local media.
The kidnapping comes amid a wave of Palestinian violence against Israelis and counter-terrorism raids in Jenin, which has become a terror hub.
Also on Wednesday, twin bombings at two different entrances into Jerusalem left one teenager dead and another 22 injured.