IDF Investigating Possible Kidnap of Israeli Soldier

Palestinian news agency: 'Al-Quds Army' claims it captured soldier, says will offer more details soon.

The Israel Defense Forces said Thursday that they were investigating reports of a kidnapped soldier.

A previously unknown Palestinian group calling itself the "Al-Quds Army" claimed that it had kidnapped an Israeli soldier on Thursday, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.

"A group of our resistance fighters captured an Israeli soldier near Ben Gurion airport and withdrew along with the soldier peacefully - later we will give details about the captured soldier," Ma'an quoted a statement issued by the group.

"We vow before all the martyrs that we will remain loyal to their blood," the statement, which was sent to Ma'an via email, went on to say. The email included no familiar insignia.

"The matter is being investigated," an IDF spokeswoman said when asked about the reports.

The IDF Spokespersons' Unit issued a statement explaining that a woman soldier had filed a report Thursday afternoon, saying that she had seen two civilians forcibly pushing a soldier into a vehicle. In light of this testimony, the IDF and the Shin Bet security service were attempting to determine whether these reports were true.

A Palestinian security official said the Al-Quds Army, while fairly obscure, was believed to have links to the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, police set up roadblocks across central Israel causing severe traffic congestion in several areas.

Police blocked many main arteries asking all drivers to slow down and submit to a security check. The numerous checks caused severe delays.

Fej Shmuelevitch, an operator of a mobile phone application for information on traffic delays, told Haaretz that unusual congestion was recorded near Ben Gurion National Airport, on Route 4, and on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway as well as areas in Petah Tikva.

Army Radio reported delays on Route 40 between Ramat Hakovesh and Ra'anana.