Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Ex-Commandos Rescue US Woman Imprisoned in Arab Home
Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu US Woman Freed from Arab Captor
Former IDF commandos secretly entered a Palestinian Authority village on Monday and rescued an American woman and her 2 1/2-year-old son from her Muslim husband, who had beaten and and held her captive for three years. The woman and child flew to the United States Wednesday night and are en route to her family’s home in Ohio. The Arab met the woman during a visit to the United States and enticed her to return with him to Israel and to the house where he lives with his first wife and several children, according to Voice of Israel government radio military reporter Carmella Menashe, who reported the story.
“She had no idea of where she was and was unable to escape,” Menashe reported. The woman wore Muslim clothes, including a veil over her face, and the man threatened her that she never would see her child again and that security agents would pick her up if she fled. She was kept under guard to make sure she could not reveal details of her ordeal on the telephone.
Her family, knowing she was somewhere in Israel, unsuccessfully tried to get the U.S. Consulate in eastern Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority to help, and finally a member of the family turned to a friend in Israel, a former commando in the Israeli Defense Forces.
The commando, who did not reveal his identity, explained that he gathered nine comrades, and they used their own intelligence connections to locate the house where she was being held.
“We carried out surveillance around the house, wore civilian clothes and staged the operation without any danger. We were unarmed, but part of the group was armed in a waiting vehicle in case there was trouble," he revealed.
They carried out the secret operation in broad daylight without resistance and when the captor was not home, whisked the woman and child into a car and brought them to an apartment already prepared for them near the American Consulate.
Her husband had destroyed her American passport, and after she signed documents and obtained a new passport, she and her son were driven to Ben Gurion International Airport, where they boarded a plane to New York.
The commando who was interviewed by Menashe pointed out that the IDF and American government were not involved in the mission although the Consulate was notified so officials could be prepared to help the woman after her rescue. He said there was no problem entering the Arab village and that the rescuers crossed the IDF checkpoint when they knew there would be a minimum number of soldiers.
He said they carried out no illegal activities, and that they did not care if they were stopped on their way to Tel Aviv from the village because they had accomplished their mission of freeing the woman.
The woman’s family will pay the commandos for their work, he said.
Asked if he would carry out the same type of operation to free kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, he said that is exactly what the government should be doing.