To avoid abduction, Israeli troops to carry tear gas

November 24th, 2011 - 12:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Jerusalem, Nov 24 (IANS) The Israeli military plans to issue tear gas dispensers to all its non-combat personnel as part of efforts to prevent them from being abducted by militants.

The new regulation will apply to personnel who are largely confined to desk jobs in bases located inside Israel, Xinhua reported citing the Ma’ariv newspaper.

It said tear gas dispensers will not be given to field troops, who are assigned rifles upon their enlistment, which they are obligated to carry throughout their service even when they are on leave.

The decision was made after a landmark prisoner-swap deal between Israel and Palestine last month, which led to a higher risk of Israeli military personnel being kidnapped, the report said.

The swap deal saw the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who had been held captive by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip for more than five years.

In return, Israel released 477 Palestinian prisoners while an additional 550 prisoners are slated for release in December.

Since Shalit’s return in October, Israeli intelligence has received information pointing to plans of militants in Gaza and Lebanon to abduct Israeli soldiers.

The militants intend to demand the release of more Arab detainees, the report said.

Aside from pepper spray, the military is integrating hand-to-hand combat into its training programmes as another means to prevent kidnapping. It will also launch a campaign to alert its troops about the dangers of hitch-hiking rides with civilians.

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