Israeli rage over soldier's murder

THE discovery yesterday of the body of the kidnapped Israeli border guard Nissim Toledo provoked fury throughout Israel, sparking security clampdowns and political recrimination. In Toledano's home town of Lod, in central Israel, protests began with Jews crying: 'Kill the Arabs.'

The Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, vowed to wage 'merciless' war against the guerrillas, and warned that the world should not be surprised by harsh new security measures: 'We'll use whatever we can, within the limits of our laws, to cope with this terror, and the atrocities that are carried out.'

Mr Rabin described Toledano's killers as 'the lowest of men, wild animals'. Hamas described them as 'holy warriors' and promised more such kidnappings.

The corpse was found early yesterday by a bedouin woman; it had been tossed in a gulley on the edge of a road in the Judean desert. The 29-year-old border guard, kidnapped on his way to work two days ago by the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, was still in uniform, stabbed through the neck and probably strangled.

'His body was twisted. The fist was clenched,' said an army spokesman, clenching his own fist at the scene, where soldiers hunting for evidence were drenched in the driving rain, as were the bedouin in their tents. The Arab woman who found Toledano had been out to round up a camel, she told reporters.

The discovery, just two miles west of the Good Samaritan's tomb on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho, brought a shocking, though predictable, end to the crisis which began when Hamas demanded the release of its leader, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, in return for the border guard. A deal was never really likely. Israeli sources said last night Toledano may have been murdered before the deadline for an exchange.

In the Gaza Strip, where 700,000 Palestinians have been confined to their homes under strict curfew, the United Nations was preparing to bring in emergency food supplies. Throughout Gaza and the West Bank more than 1,200 arrests were made, including Hamas leaders and a journalist with Reuters news agency.

Mr Rabin sought to show authority, control and calm in the face of raw emotion and political mud-slinging. 'We will bite our lips and we will continue, and we will be victorious,' he said. 'No stone, no Molotov cocktail, no knives, no Hamas, no Ahmed Yassin, no Yasser Arafat, will stop us. We will live here for ever. Terror has no chance.'

At the same time, the Labour leader emphasised that Israel will pursue the peace process, and will not abandon the current negotiations.

It is fast becoming clear, however, that playing both man of peace and man of war is an increasingly hard act for Mr Rabin. As a former defence minister, known for his 'iron fist', he can be as hard as anyone on the gunmen. But he has also promised security through negotiation.

After Toledano's murder, bringing the December death toll in the conflict to six Israeli soldiers and 11 Palestinians - the highest since the peace talks began - Mr Rabin's promises are being torn apart by his right-wing critics.

Benjamin Netanyahu, a former minister in the Likud government, and tipped as the party's new leader, said: 'The escalation in terror is not coincidental. It is the result of weakness.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
News
Sir James Dyson: 'Students must be inspired to take up the challenge of engineering'
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Embedded Linux Engineer - C / C++

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A well funded smart home compan...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Engineer - Python / Node / C / Go

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: *Flexible working in a relaxed ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Bookkeeper

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This accountancy firm have an e...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Developer / Mobile Apps / Java / C# / HTML 5 / JS

£17000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Junior Mobile Application Devel...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?