Palestinian militants seize the body of an Israeli Druze teenager from a hospital in Jenin, demanding a body swap



CNN

Palestinian militants storm hospital Jenin and seized the body of a young Israeli Druze who was involved in a car accident in the West Bank, authorities on both sides of the conflict said Wednesday. The militants demand the return of the bodies Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, they said.

The victim, identified as Tyran Ferro, was involved in the accident on Tuesday with another civilian, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement. He is a member of the Druze minority, community leaders told CNN.

Ferro’s father told Israeli media that the teen was alive and off life support at the hospital by a group of Palestinian militants.

But Jenin Governor Akram Rajoub told CNN that Ferro was dead when his body was taken.

Father Ferro said: “When we were in the hospital, we stood in front of the intensive care unit. My son was put on a ventilator and had a heartbeat. I was with my brother and son, suddenly a gang of 20 masked people entered the room screaming. We stood there and couldn’t do anything.

“They stole the body in front of me,” Father Ferro told reporters on camera.

The Jenin Brigade, a Palestinian militant group based in a West Bank refugee camp, said in a statement obtained by CNN that it was holding Ferro’s body and demanded that Israel hand over all bodies of Palestinians killed by the IDF that are in Israeli possession. The group also said it had raised a state of alert among its members in anticipation of an Israeli assault on the Jenin camp.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid vowed on Wednesday that “the kidnappers will pay a heavy price” if the Tyrant’s body is not returned: “Israel has proven in recent months that there is no place and no terrorists that it does not know how to reach.”

Lapid said Ferro is set to celebrate his 18th birthday on Thursday.

Thor Vennesland, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, is involved in talks with a Palestinian group to send Ferro’s body back to Israel, a spokesman told CNN.

The IDF said Ferro and another man entered Jenin through the Gilboa-Jalameh crossing, which has since been closed following the Wednesday bombings in Jerusalem.

According to them, another participant in the accident was seriously injured.

The IDF said that the body of the deceased was removed from the hospital and is expected to be returned to Israel soon “as a necessary humanitarian action.”

Following two explosions Wednesday in Jerusalem, the Israeli Defense Ministry decided to close the Gilboa-Jalameh and Salem checkpoints after a security assessment, a spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said.

Tensions in Jenin have been especially high for months amid a surge in armed attacks on Israeli troops and civilians this year.