News / Middle East

    Israel Expands West Bank Search for Kidnapped Teens

    • Israeli soldiers patrol during a search for three missing Israeli teenagers in the village of Taffouh near the West Bank city of Hebron, June 18, 2014.
    • Israeli soldiers search for three missing Israeli teens believed to have been abducted in the West Bank city of Jenin, June 19, 2014.
    • Members of the Palestinian Civil Defense hose down a shop that caught on fire due to clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Jenin, June 19, 2014.
    • Israeli soldiers walk during an operation in the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank city of Nablus, June 17, 2014.
    • Israeli soldiers search a Palestinian youth during an operation to locate three Israeli teens in the West Bank city of Hebron, June 16, 2014.
    • A Palestinian woman argues with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron, June 15, 2014.
    • A Palestinian family looks at Israeli soldiers during a military operation searching for three missing teenagers, near the West Bank city of Hebron, June 15, 2014.
    • Israeli soldiers take positions during a military operation searching for three missing teenagers, near the West Bank city of Hebron, June 15, 2014.
    • An Israeli soldier searches a Palestinian vehicle at a checkpoint near the West Bank City of Hebron, June 15, 2014.
    • An Israeli drone flies over the West Bank city of Hebron, June 14, 2014.
    Robert Berger
    Israel is expanding the search for three Jewish teenagers said to be abducted by Palestinian militants in the West Bank.  

    Israeli forces, including paratroopers and elite anti-terror units, are conducting house-to-house searches in the West Bank for three kidnapped teenagers.  The three are seminary students from Jewish settlements who disappeared while hitchhiking last Thursday near the biblical town of Hebron.

     
    HebronHebron
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    Hebron
    Hebron
    Most of the searches have focused on Hebron and nearby villages, but they were expanded north Monday to the area of Ramallah, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority.  Israeli troops have arrested more than 150 Palestinians in the raids, most of them from the Islamic militant group Hamas.

    “These teenagers were kidnapped and the kidnapping was carried out by Hamas members.  We know that for a fact,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    He did not offer any proof, but said it is Hamas' style.

     
    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, June 15, 2014.Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, June 15, 2014.
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    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, June 15, 2014.
    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, June 15, 2014.
    ​“Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel and to carrying out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, including children,” he said.

    Hamas has praised the kidnapping, but it has not taken responsibility.

    “Netanyahu's comments are stupid,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, adding that Israel is looking for an excuse to crack down on Palestinian resistance.

    Nevertheless, Hamas has been calling for kidnappings to win another release of Palestinian prisoners.  In 2011, Israel traded 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for captive soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held for more than five years by Hamas in Gaza.

    The latest kidnapping comes just two weeks after Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank formed a unity government, ending a seven-year rift.  Israel bitterly criticized the move, saying it would not deal with a “terrorist government” backed by Hamas.

    But Israel has continued to quietly cooperate with Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.  

    Netanyahu spoke with Abbas on the phone and said Israel expected him to help find the kidnapped teenagers.  The Palestinian leader condemned the kidnapping, and Israel says his forces are helping in the search.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Carlos from: Gomez-Mota
    June 16, 2014 3:42 PM
    I think these boys are hidden in a tunnel prepared in advance or previously.

    by: Kevin from: Canada
    June 16, 2014 12:34 PM
    And what were the 150 arrests for? Do all of these arrestees know something of the kidanppings? Not to mention the death of Palestinians everyday it seems at the hands of Israel...

    I don't condone the kidnappings, far from it, but the rhetoric coming from Israel is sickening. Almost makes one think that Israel staged the kidnappings for to divert attention away from the settlements, Human Rights Issues and divestment discussion.

    by: Richard from: USA
    June 16, 2014 11:42 AM
    I pray that the teens will soon be found and be safe and well.

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