Police to Probe Hotline's Mishandling of Kidnapped Teen's Call

Following public criticism, police chief will form committee ahead of military operation's completion to investigate how hotline was operating at time of kidnapping.

Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino.
Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Police chief Yohanan Danino will establish Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning a committee to probe the police hotline's mishandling of a phone call from one of teens kidnapped Thursday evening.

Until now, top police officers and the public security minister said an investigation of the failure will only start after the operation to recover the teens is over. But as the operation entered its fifth day and facing public criticism, Danino decided to appoint the committee now.

Click here for Tuesday's updates on the kidnapping

The committee will be formed by three or five officers serving outside the Judea and Samaria District, to which hotline the mishandled phone call was placed. It will examine the workflow in the hotlines in general and the operation of the Judea and Samaria hotline at the night of the kidnapping in particular.

The three teens were kidnapped late on Thursday on their way home from the Gush Etzion settlement cluster in the West Bank. One of them managed to place a call to the Judea and Samaria District police hotline at about 10:30 P.M., but it was by a police officer doing compulsory service. As a result, hours passed before the relevant forces in the field knew anything about the abduction.

Last week, hotline staffers thought the kidnapping call was a prank, but procedure requires that, in such cases, they search to see whether the phone number from where the suspected prank call was placed is on a police blacklist. If not, the call is to be taken at face value, but that did not happen on Thursday.

Overnight Monday, the Israeli army conducted a large-scale operation in the West Bank, arresting 41 Palestinians. Approximately half of the arrests were conducted in the Nablus region, 78 kilometers north of Hebron, where the operation has been focused until now.

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