Hizballah Kidnaps Fourth Israeli

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:08 PM EDT

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Israel confirmed a Hizballah claim on Sunday that it had kidnapped an Israeli army reserve officer. He is the fourth Israeli abducted in a week. Three Israeli soldiers were kidnapped on the Israeli side of the Lebanese border last Saturday in a well-planned Hizballah operation.

According to the Israeli Defense Ministry, an Israeli citizen, who is a reserve soldier, was kidnapped in a terror act in Europe. The unnamed victim had traveled to Europe on his own initiative and had disappeared there a week ago.

Initially, there was some confusion over the Hizballah claim after Israel had found that there had been no incidents of kidnapping along the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Government spokesman Nachman Shai told reporters on Sunday that an Israeli citizen had "disappeared on his own initiative in personal circumstances in Europe a week ago."

Hizballah claimed in a foreign television interview that it had captured an Israeli secret agent, whom Israel radio named as Hanan Sheinbaum. According to the radio report, Sheinbaum is an Israeli businessman with links to Arab countries and the Palestinians.

"I inform you gladly that the Islamic resistance performed a unique security operation capturing an Israeli colonel who works for an Israeli security apparatus," said Hizballah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

"I will not reveal any information. If the Israelis want details, let them search," Nasrallah said on a live broadcast of Hizballah's Al Manar television station.

Israeli security sources said earlier that they had learned to take Nasrallah's statements seriously.

Nasrallah said he dedicated the abduction to the "Al-Aqsa Mosque uprising, to its martyrs, to every prisoner and detainee in the enemy prisons and to the families of the prisoners and detainees who hope and live awaiting the day they will be reunited with their beloved ones."

Hizballah has been pledging for months to abduct Israelis to be used as bargaining chips in order to secure the release of Lebanese prisoners still held in Israeli jails.