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Israeli Cops Find Body of Missing Soldier (AP) JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 07/28/03 11:31 AM) Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56744-2003Jul28.html
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JERUSALEM - Israeli police on Monday found the body of a soldier who had been missing for a week, and the investigation focused on suspicions he was kidnapped and killed by Arabs, officials said.
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The case has been an added tension amid efforts to speed up progress on a U.S.-backed Mideast peace plan. The main Palestinian militant groups declared a cease-fire June 29, but some fighters have not accepted the truce.
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The body of Oleg Shaichat, 20, who disappeared July 21, was found buried in northern Israel, police spokesman Gil Kleiman said. Hundreds of police, soldiers and volunteers had been searching for him.
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Police suspect Shaichat was abducted by Arabs while hitchhiking to his home. Security officials have said they had intelligence warnings that some militants intended to kidnap Israeli soldiers.
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"We are talking about a murder with nationalist motives," said Yaakov Borovski, northern region police commander.
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"We cannot say at the moment who the killers are or if we are talking about Israeli Arabs or people from the territories," he said, referring to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
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Shaichat´s disappearance followed the kidnapping of an Israeli taxi- driver by Palestinians on July 11. He was later rescued by Israeli commandos, and officials said main Palestinian militant groups were not involved.
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After the abduction, the Israeli military restated a long-standing order against soldiers hitching rides with strangers.
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Shaichat was in uniform and armed when he was last seen by a fellow hitchhiker traveling in a car near the biblical village of Cana in the Galilee. He was on his way to his home in a Jewish satellite town of Nazareth, Israel´s largest Arab city.
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No public ransom demands or claims of responsibility were made in his disappearance. (© 2003 The Associated Press 07/28/03)
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