Unknown organisation claims to have kidnapped two Israeli soldiers overseas, investigation reveals
An unknown organisation has claimed to have kidnapped two Israeli soldiers overseas, according to an investigation which aired on Al Jazeera news channel late on Friday.
The group, calling itself the Freedom movement, said it kidnapped the two officers while they were "executing secret security missions outside Israel".
The movement had in September last year made a similar claim that it kidnapped two Israeli soldiers. At the time, Israel did not issue a comment on the claim.
A video recording showed the two kidnapped men, with one identifying himself himself as David Ben Rousey and introducing his colleague as David Perry.
According to the kidnappers, Perry "is a secret mission man in the Elad settlement association, while [Ben Rousey] is a petrochemical expert, and they were kidnapped in two separate operations."
The group did not reveal the location of the kidnapping and the investigative program did not provide additional details about the timing and place of the abduction, nor the place of detention.
In the recording, Ben Rousey pleaded for help saying Perry was "in poor health" and described their situation as "terrible"
The kidnappers said the fate of the two Israelis was tied to the release of Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
The so-called Freedom movement is unknown in the Palestinian territories.
In the first comment issued by the Islamic Hamas movement, Hazem Qassim, the movement's spokesman, said "al-Qassam Brigades has always been and will remain true to its promise to our heroic prisoners of continuous work to break the restrictions on them and take away their freedom."
"This is our duty towards the heroic prisoners... As we lived through the Wafaa al-Ahrar deal ten years ago, the resistance will be able to repeat this great achievement," he added.
Israeli officials are yet to comment.
There are around 4,850 Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, including 40 women, 225 children, and 40 administrative detainees, according rights groups.