Israel Lifts Gag Order on Kidnapped Teen's SOS Call: Gunshots Heard

LISTEN: Disturbing recording of call placed by Gilad Shaar to police on night of kidnapping catches his plea, 'They kidnapped me, followed by shouts and gunshots.

An emergency hotline call center in Jerusalem in 2013.
An emergency hotline call center in Jerusalem in 2013.Credit: Emil Salman

Israel has lifted the gag order on the emergency call placed by one of the kidnapped teenagers on the evening of June 12, in which gun shots can be heard.

The recording of the call, as heard in the hotline, is a disturbing documentation of what were likely the final minutes of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach.

Shortly after the three were abducted, Shaar called the 100 hotline and whispered, "They kidnapped me." The operator receiving the call, having a hard time hearing, kept repeating, "Hello?"

One of the kidnappers can then be heard yelling, "Head down!" Shortly thereafter gunshots are heard and then Hebrew-language radio in the background.

The staffers at the Judea and Samaria District hotline thought the kidnapping call was a prank, and did not follow up for hours. Procedures require that, in such cases, the police check 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.

The committee investigating the conduct of the operators of the emergency hotline the night of the kidnapping found that there was a "severe failure of conduct."

The findings describe a "mishandling of the telephone call received at the center, as far as the professional standards expected from emergency hotline operators on all levels, and which included all the ranks: police, officers and commanders involved."

As a result of the findings, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino immediately dismissed some officers involved in the incident, among them the chief operations officer and the head of the command and control center. Neither will be able to serve in any position of authority over the next three years. The emergency hotline's shift supervisor and manager will also be dismissed, and their continued service in the police will be examined.

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