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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own