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Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Good News from Israel

Kidnapped Taxi Driver Rescued!


Friends of newly-freed Eliyahu Gurel celebrate outside his home in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv.


Gurel chats with Israeli policeman shortly after rescue.

JPost: A daring raid carried out by elite security forces early Wednesday freed taxi cab driver Eliahu Gurel, who had been placed in a ten-meter deep hole in the basement of a building under construction outside Ramallah.

The release of Gurel, 61, came hours after members of the Border Police arrested two of his captors, who revealed Gurel's whereabouts.

As troops of the Sayeret Matkal commandos, Border Police anti-terror squad and Shin Bet security service approached the building, they overpowered and arrested two other Palestinians standing guard before storming the premises and rescuing Gurel.

Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky said the operation relied only on security forces and denied reports claiming Palestinian cooperation in the rescue operation.

Gurel, who was in good condition, was checked by army medics and then taken to Hadassah-University Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem. But he was released shortly after 2 a.m. and sent home. Reports were that his neighbors greeted him with champagne when he returned to his home in Tel Aviv.

Reporters quoted Gurel's wife, Hanna, as saying the days had been the hardest of her life.

"We didn't sleep," she was quoted as saying. "We are tired and spent. Thank God my husband is alive. We have outstanding police, army, and Shin Bet forces. They are the precious people who brought my husband back."