Millennium Post

Bodies of missing Israeli teens found; Netanyahu vows revenge

Bodies of missing Israeli teens found; Netanyahu vows revenge
The bodies of the three missing Israeli teenagers have been found in southern West Bank over two weeks after they were allegedly kidnapped by Hamas, as Israel today vowed that the militant Palestinian group ‘will pay’ for their deaths. The bodies of the abducted teenagers -- Gilad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrach -- were found by an Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) team yesterday in a village northwest of Hebron, 17 days after they disappeared.

Five Palestinians were killed and more than 450 arrested during the huge manhunt launched to track down the teenagers. Security forces believe the boys were shot shortly after their kidnapping in a premeditated plan by their abductors. Israel's internal security agency, Shin Bet, is continuing with intelligence efforts to track down two Hamas militants, Marwan Kawasme and Amar Abu Aysha, whom Israel has accused of involvement in the kidnapping.

One of the civilian volunteers involved in the search said the bodies had been found under a pile of branches and stones in a remote area. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to make Hamas pay for the murders as he convened an emergency meeting of his Security Cabinet.

‘Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay,’ Netanyahu said.

‘All signs indicate that they are the bodies of our three abducted youths who were abducted and murdered in cold blood by human animals,’ he said. The three teenagers disappeared while hitch-hiking home from their yeshivas in the West Bank. Opposition leader and Labour Chairman Isaac Herzog called the murders ‘despicable.’

The kidnapping and murder of innocent boys under cover of night is a despicable and unforgivable crime, ‘he said adding that’ there is no justification or excuse, and I am convinced that the long arm of the security forces will reach the killers.’

Outgoing President Shimon Peres expressed sorrow to the bereaved parents and demanded a crackdown on the ‘criminal’ terrorists. IDF Chief of Staff Lt Gen Benny Gantz held a security evaluation with senior military officials after the bodies were discovered.

Since the start of the manhunt to locate the teenagers, the IDF has arrested 419 security suspects, 276 of them Hamas members, including 56 who were released as part of the Gilad Schalit exchange with Hamas in 2011. Twelve Hamas leaders have been arrested in the West Bank. Hamas, however, has dismissed the Israeli allegations and accused Israel of fabricating the kidnapping as an excuse to crackdown on it.

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