News / Middle East

Israel Finds Bodies of Kidnapped Teenagers

Israeli soldiers stand next to their vehicles in the village of Halhul, near the West Bank town of Hebron, where the bodies of the three missing Israeli teenagers were found, June 30, 2014.
Israeli soldiers stand next to their vehicles in the village of Halhul, near the West Bank town of Hebron, where the bodies of the three missing Israeli teenagers were found, June 30, 2014.
Robert Berger

The hunt for three missing Israeli youths in the West Bank has come to a tragic end.

After a long and massive search, Israeli forces found the bodies of three Jewish seminary students who were kidnapped in the West Bank more than two weeks ago. The teenagers apparently were shot shortly after they were abducted while hitchhiking near the biblical town of Hebron.

An Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said the bodies were found in an open field under a pile of rocks.

"At 5 p.m. the IDF [Israel defense forces] exposed in an open field not far from here a pile of rocks, and beneath the rocks we found to begin with two bodies and then as we dug deeper we found a third body," he said.

Candles placed next to a picture of three Israeli teenagers who were abducted and killed, in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, June 30, 2014.Candles placed next to a picture of three Israeli teenagers who were abducted and killed, in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, June 30, 2014.
Candles placed next to a picture of three Israeli teenagers who were abducted and killed, in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, June 30, 2014.
Candles placed next to a picture of three Israeli teenagers who were abducted and killed, in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, June 30, 2014.

The kidnapping prompted the biggest Israeli military crackdown in the West Bank in a decade. More than 400 Palestinians have been arrested during the widespread search for the missing teens, mostly members of the Islamic militant group Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blames Hamas for the murders and said the group will pay a heavy price. Before summoning his security cabinet for a special session Monday, he said the teenagers were killed by what he called "human animals."

General Nitzan Alon, the commander of Israeli forces in the West Bank, said the search for the two Hamas members believed to have carried out the kidnapping is continuing. He said thousands of troops are involved in the search.

“The war on terror did not begin today and it won’t end tomorrow,” the general said, adding that Israel will settle scores with Hamas.

But while Hamas has praised the kidnapping, it has not gone any further than that. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri made a statement in the Gaza Strip, saying no Palestinian faction has claimed responsibility for the attack, including Hamas. Abu Zuhri also brushed off Israeli threats of retaliation, saying that if Israel wages war on Gaza, it will “open up the gates of hell.”

Since the teens' disappearance, Israeli-Palestinian tensions have spiked. Netanyahu has demanded that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas give up a reconciliation deal with Hamas.

In Washington, President Barack Obama issued a statement condemning what he called this "senseless act of terror against innocent youth." He said the U.S. has offered its full support to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to find those who committed the crime and bring them to justice. The White House statement also urged restraint, saying all parties should refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis called the killings "abominable" and said they are a grave obstacle to peace.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Leo from: Honolulu, HI
July 01, 2014 3:02 AM
Palestinians are using terrorism because history has shown that terrorism works. Israel's three founding fathers Begin, BenGurion, and Shamir, all committed acts of terror, including sending mail bombs to British embassies and blowing up the King David Hotel. They also committed massacres at places like Deir Yassin, where Israeli soldiers killed dozens of Palestinian women and children with bayonets, to increase the numbers of Palestinians who would flee for fear of their lives (not all left at the beckoning of Arab leaders). Now Israel wants to have a permanent occupation/apartheid, just because Palestinians are not willing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinians shouldn't recognize Israel as a Jewish state. States belong to their citizens or long term legal residents, not to religious or ethnic groups. The concept of a states belonging to a religious or ethnic group is a medieval one, and is contrary to the notion of democracy. Germany doesn't belong to the Germanic tribe or to Arians, it belongs to Germans (i.e. anyone with German citizenship). Italy doesn't belong to Etruscans or Romans, it belongs to Italians (i.e. to those with Italian citizenship). Israel belongs to Israelis, not to Jews. Saying it belongs to Jews disenfranchises its non-Jewish citizens and all the refugees it illegally prevented from exercising their inalienable right to return to their homes after war. Israel was created by a non-binding UN general assembly resolution and it can be brought to its knees economically with UN resolutions or by a simple economic boycott by the European Union. The world is getting fed up with Israel's unreasonable preconditions for letting the West Bank have self determination. Israel has to either get out of most of the West Bank, or give Israeli citizenship to all within the West Bank. As Pres GW Bush said, "Palestine can't be Swiss cheese". Only extreme right wingers in the US and Israel, think the Palestinians should or could be made to leave the West Bank. The rest of the world knows that would be ethnic cleansing.

by: Analyser from: India
July 01, 2014 1:29 AM
The illegal occupation of Palestine by the Zionists and continious expansion of Zionist colonies in Palestine by displacing Muslims is the root cause of all violence and unrest in middle east.

If you occupy any bodys home land and put them under a prison by constructing a massive wall not giving them voting rights nor liberating them they will definetely fight back.

Zionists have been able to carry on this massacre and abuse of Human rights due to unconditional support from USA. This is the one of the major reason for conflict between USA and Muslim world. It is important to note that there has been no conflict what so ever between USA and the Muslim world prior to formation of Israel in 1948.

America and the Muslim world had very healthy relationship prior to 1948 . USA are being misled and used by zionists in their evil plans.

If USA had not been continiously supporting Israel since 1948 there would have been no 9/11 nor any other war between America and the Muslim world in which thousands of Americans and millions of Muslims have lost their lives.

by: smilingjack from: australia
July 01, 2014 12:37 AM
so three lunatic religious zealots who day in day out destroy Palestinian homes businesses and crops are killed on a mission to do more damage. boy hoo. 3 less nut jobs in the world.
must be what their imaginary god wanted eh.

by: Anthonybellchambers from: London
June 30, 2014 11:49 PM
An Open Letter to Israeli Settlers in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank

1. If you were an American citizen, born, bred and educated in New York, or Los Angeles, with a good house and family – would you be behaving responsibly and with due regard for their safety if you were to voluntarily leave your home to emigrate to Israel and to settle illegally in the occupied Palestinian West Bank in order to satisfy a personal, religious conviction?

2. If you were well aware that the West Bank has been more or less continuously populated by Muslim Arabs for at least 1000 years, would it be safe and sensible to put your family in harm’s way by deciding under your own volition to live in an Israeli settlement that has been condemned as illegal under international law by the UN, the EU and the US, i.e. by the whole international community?

3. If, notwithstanding the obvious dangers of living illegally on someone else’s land, by that decision you endangered the lives of your family, would you feel responsible when, had you not decided to leave the country of your birth, you and your family would have remained safe?

4. Are you aware that both World War 1 and World War 2 were triggered by a single event of violence that eventually resulted in the deaths of tens of millions around the world?

5. Did you ever consider that your decision to emigrate from the US to live in the Occupied Territories of Palestine might one day lead to another such act of violence that could escalate into a regional then global conflict that could once again alter the course of history and cause massive suffering?

6. Or did you just believe that your personal convictions took precedence over the lives of millions of others?
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 02, 2014 6:45 AM
You cannot hide your barbarism behind justification for land ownership whether you think the land belongs to the Palestinians or to Israel. If the Palestinians have been there for 1000 years, what about Israel who have been there for more than 4000 years? The unfortunate fact remains you captured the risk of living among man-eating Palestinian-Arabs; but reason for their leaving their own land to go occupy Israeli land in hope of conquering Israel in the 1867 wars having been defeated, why do you not also re-suggest that these Palestinians return to their roots?

We know these people came from Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon mostly, would it be wrong if they go back now that the so-called Liberation and/or Resistance appear to fail? Or do you encourage more such blood shed, kidnappings and killings until who liquidates first? Seeing that Israel has no other country to call its own, would you subscribe to the Arab desire to think Israel should filter into other countries and disappear from the world map as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran (maybe echoing the mind of all Islamist and Arab world) had suggested?
In Response

by: Mark from: Vancouver
July 01, 2014 1:29 AM
well written, well said....
In Response

by: Rex from: Aus
July 01, 2014 12:14 AM
The Palestinians left the land under assured guarantees from the Arab states that after their war with Israel they would have not only the land but that of the Israeli's. They were quite happy to sit back and take others land should the offensive be successful. They didn't figure on Israel winning that war in six days. To the victor goes the spoils. Saying that, your trying to justify the teenagers deaths with an argument over land disputes not only says to me your a cowardly man, you are also a twit.

by: Igor from: Russia
June 30, 2014 10:57 PM
We condemn the killing of the innocent teenagers. Those who are responsible must be punished no matter who they are. They have acted as wild animals. But Israel must be careful in revenge because if they take innocent people's life, they are the same as the killers of the teenagers.
In Response

by: G from: US
July 01, 2014 12:48 AM
I think that ship has sailed.

by: Deplane from: Albuquerque NM
June 30, 2014 8:45 PM
I believe Isreal needs to be fair and punish the guilty before punishing the innocent. It's going to be tough to do it but time is in your side.

by: Patrick James Kelly
June 30, 2014 8:43 PM
So Isreal... the world is wondering how many innocent men, women and children you are willing to kill this time to satisfy your lust for revenge and blood. When will you join the advanced part of humanity that says killing innocents is wrong no matter who you are, what you stand for or why anyone might feel such acts are justified. The ones who killed the three teens should be found, tried and punished. You owe that much to those teens. It serves no one for you to respond by seeing which side is capable of the greatest and most hideous atrocities in a failed quest to teach the other side a lesson. Lust, ignorance and barbarism are poor excuses for justice.

by: fatalreview
June 30, 2014 8:35 PM
considering the amount of sympathy Palestine has currently been getting in the world and from the Obama administration-I wouldn't rule out that Israel intelligence did it themselves-and how they found the bodies out of no where? just 2 weeks later-what would turn sentiment against Palestine faster than kidnapping young people and killing them-something they have not previously done-and other than Israel pointing the finger what evidence is there against Humas? sorry but Israel has played the subversive propaganda card too much to exclude the possibility-the timing is perfect for Israel with all the pressure on them to get along with their neighbors lately and stop using the US and the UN to claim more land from the Palestinians-it would not help Palestine right now
In Response

by: Rex from: Aus
July 01, 2014 12:15 AM
What a gutless statement.

by: Fr0ntSight
June 30, 2014 8:27 PM
Can you imagine if every time a Palestinian body was found there was a news article about it.....

by: tim from: australia
June 30, 2014 8:26 PM
This is disgusting reporting. Only became breaking news after the boys were discovered which in itself horrible for the parents. But throughout all these reporting little is talked about the 6 Palestinians MURDERED. FOUR HUNDRED DETAINED. And now they have an excuse to crack down even harder? Justice many of you commenters ever hear of it. The mid east was in peace and harmony when jews Christians and muslims lived in peace no one cared. But once the western jews came after world war 2 and powers be STOLE LAND creates the situation of today. Its disgusting how ignorant so many of you guys are. "Oh rockets are shot at Israel daily" out of response of some war crime or demolition of ones home MAKING THEM HOMELESS AND MAD are you guy seriously that self centered that you do not realize the ACTUAL situation no you can't because the 'news' spins the crap out of this CONSTANTLY. COMPLETELY AND UTTER DISGRACEFUL
In Response

by: Rex from: Aus
July 01, 2014 12:20 AM
So you agree that it is ok to fire rockets into Israel, strap bombs on women and children to blow up checkpoints (and in the past, blow up buses full of innocent people) and support those who martyred the cowards who killed athletes in Germany? What a sensible a nice person you are, why don't you go join ISIL with that kind of thinking.
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