[Full audio below.] The chilling recording cleared for publication on Tuesday that documents moments from the abduction of Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frenkel was only partial. The length of the call made from Gil-Ad Shaer’s phone was over two minutes and the recording in full has been released for the first time.
The recording reveals what happened in the kidnappers’ car after the initial sound of gunfire: the conversation between the two terrorists, their expressions of joy and what sounds like a cry of pain, likely from one of the victims.
After the policewoman at the police call center asks Gil-Ad to respond to her, more sounds of gunfire are heard. An interview with Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich on Israel Radio is heard coming from the radio in the background and the terrorists are heard exclaiming with joy and uttering the word “thalaathah” (three, in Arabic).
The common assumption so far was that the three were shot dead because the kidnapping had gone wrong, but the second part of the recording indicates murder might have been the terrorists’ initial intention.
In the call, that lasted for over two minutes, the kidnappers continue talking amongst themselves but it’s difficult to make out the content of their conversation.
The recording made public on Tuesday documents the most dramatic moments of the kidnapping and murder of the three teens. Shaer, who managed to call the police’s call center, told the policeman on the other side of the line “I’ve been kidnapped.” Police did not realize the seriousness of the call on time and failed to respond quickly.
Because of the police’s failure to act fast, the killers had enough time to hide the bodies and make their escape. It took 18 days to find the bodies while the killers haven’t been located yet.
Up until Tuesday, the police tried to diminish expectations from the recording, implying not much can be understood from the recording.
Police top-brass claimed the words “I’ve been kidnapped” were not said, or not clearly heard, but the recording shows that even if these words were only whispered, the rest of the call – like the terrorists’ shouting – should’ve alerted the police that something was out of the ordinary.
In the background, a man shouting “head down! Head down! Down!” with an Arabic accent is clearly heard. The police center either didn’t hear or they didn’t understand and the policeman is heard saying: “Hello? Hello?” repeatedly.
It is possible one of the terrorists is heard saying “take it (the phone) from him.” This is followed by a scream, a gunshot, another one and then what appears to be a series of gunshots. Then a soft cry of pain, and gunfire again. And then silence.
Estimates are that these were lethal shots. The call appeared to have disrupted the kidnappers’ plans, who had to shoot the teens immediately, while still in the car.
The call was not disconnected. From the other end of the line a female officer’s voice is heard. The policewoman, a senior officer serving as the manager of the call center, takes the phone to try to understand who is on the other side of the line. But the silence is replaced with noise from the radio. Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich is heard speaking in a radio interview. One of the kidnappers intentionally raised the volume, or the phone fell next to a speaker.
“Answer my call,” the policewoman is heard saying, while trying to understand who is on the other side of the line. “Where are you? Hello?” she asks, but no one answers and the call ends.
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