Middle East Studies

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Israel and Islamic Terror Abductions, 1986–2016


Shaul Shay is the Director of Research at the Institute for Strategy and Policy (IPS) at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, and served as the Deputy Head of the Israeli National Security Council. His publications include: Islamic Terror Abductions in the Middle East; The Shahids: Islam and Suicide Attacks; Islamic Terror and the Balkans; Somalia between Jihad and Restoration; and Global Jihad and the Tactic of Terror Abduction.

Reviews of the author’s earlier work (2007) include: “The world of political terror abductions keeps growing, and this book is an excellent introduction. Highly recommended.” Choice
This book is complete with specific details on abductions that strive to give the process a human face …Digest of Middle East Studies

Kidnapping constitutes a central component in the “attack repertoire” of terror organizations. It is a means of promoting the goals of their organizations and their patrons. Since the 1960s, Israel has been extorted by terrorist organizations holding Israeli soldiers and civilians hostage, only to be returned in a deal securing the release of imprisoned members of these terror organizations. Since the 1980s, in the wake of the Islamic revolution in Iran and the ascent of a terror-supporting regime in that country, Islamic terror entities such as the Lebanese Hezbollah organization and the Palestinian Hamas movement have become preeminent in the Middle East in all matters connected to terror in general, and kidnappings in particular.

This study analyzes the challenges that radical Islamic groups pose and the response of Israel relating to abductions in Lebanon via the Hezbollah organization (1983–2016), and abductions in Israel via the Hamas movement (1989–2016). The main debates about prisoner exchange within Israeli society revolve around the following questions: (1) Does conceding to terrorists lead to further kidnappings? and (2) Do the terrorists that are released return to terrorist activity? The challenge issued by terror organizations to Israel whose citizens have been kidnapped, and the way Israel has risen to that challenge, is the prime focus of this study. It follows two earlier books by the author published by Sussex Academic on the regional and global aspects of terror abductions.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-823-7
Hardback Price: £75.00 / $94.95
Release Date: December 2016
Page Extent / Format: 224 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Contents to Follow

Reviewed in the Washington Post, January 15, 2018, by Joshua Sinai, senior analyst, specializing in counterterrorism and homeland security studies, at Kiernan Group Holdings (KGH), in Alexandria, VA, at:

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