In extended version of kidnapped teens' call to
police, murderers heard singing in celebration

By Ben Hartman | Jerusalem Post | July 2, 2014

The terrorists who murdered three Israeli teens after abducting them on June 12th broke out into celebratory singing after gunning them down, according to an extended version of the emergency dispatch call placed by one of the boys on the night of the killings.

In addition, the killers can be heard speaking in Arabic, one of them saying "We got three."

All the while, the dispatch operators are on the line, trying to get a response from the other end. One of the widely-held beliefs about the killings is that the terrorists had panicked and possibly not meant to kill the boys, though in the tape they can be heard celebrating moments after apparently shooting them.

What sounds like additional gunshots can also be heard in the extended version, which was first published by Ynet on Wednesday. In addition, there is what sounds like cries of pain, presumably from the victims.

The call was placed by Gil-Ad Shaer, a fact that was unknown to the public before his father Ofir mentioned it in his eulogy for his son on Tuesday. In the initial moments of the tape, Shaer can be heard saying "They kidnapped me," followed by a voice saying "Heads down," and then what sounds like gunshots.

The recording was leaked to the public on Tuesday. It was previously under a gag order, but after the recording started circling the country on WhatsApp and social media on Tuesday, the gag order was partially lifted.

From the moment they first learned of the kidnappings of teenagers Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrah, the security forces have had a working assessment that the teenagers were murdered soon after being kidnapped, as they sat in the back seat of the vehicle they had entered at the hitchhiking post outside Alon Shvut. Publicly a number of security officials said that they believed the youths were still alive.

The police have been heavily criticized for not responding quickly enough to the emergency call. An internal police probe led to the removal from their posts of four senior police officials.

The 2 minute, 9 second call, which was received at 10:25 p.m. on June 12, was not given the proper urgency or handed over to security services until around five hours later, when one of the boy's parents reported him missing to police.

Despite that, the call was apparently seen as important, because the supervisor at the Judea and Samaria District Police dispatch station made eight attempts to call the number back. Seven of these were after the line went down, and of these, five went directly to voice mail.

The handling of the call represented a severe failure "that ran along the entire chain of command at the center, crossing a series of police, officers and commanders," police said on Monday.

The incident represented "a failure of the utmost severity," Israel Police Inspector-Geneneral Yohanan Danino said on Monday. He vowed to improve service at police dispatch centers, which he called "the address the public turns to when they face trouble."

The voice of MK Shelly Yacimovich (Labor), who was being interviewed by Israel Radio as the kidnapping took place, can be heard in the background of the recording talking about religious-secular relations.

"For two weeks I've known about the tape and I have been thinking non-stop about what is now clear to all of us that those were the last moments of these boys' lives," she wrote on Facebook Tuesday.

Yacimovich said that defense sources told her that having an Israeli radio station playing was part of the terrorists' way to trick and trap the teens.

"I can't stop thinking of the surrealistic gap between the relaxed interview that took place in my backyard in order to not disturb my children and their friends in the house, and what happened at that moment to three other children, younger than mine," she wrote.

The MK contrasted "the relaxed interview I gave and the terrible violence that took place to its sounds....You can hear me being interviewed, the background noise to tragedy and terror in the car."

"The pain after these lives were cut short at such a young age is so, so great. May their memory be for a blessing," Yacimovich said.