Israeli soldiers patrol on the road in the West Bank City of Hebron, June 13, 2014. Israel's security forces on Friday continued a massive manhunt for three Jewish youths who went missing in the West Bank Thursday night. Fears have been raised that the three youths were kidnapped by Palestinian militants seeking the release of comrades incarcerated in Israeli prisons, local media said. (Xinhua/Mamoun Wazwaz)
JERUSALEM, June 14 (Xinhua) -- The three Israeli teens who have been missing since Thursday evening were kidnapped in the West Bank territories by a terrorist organization, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed in a public statement on Saturday.
"In light of the situation I cannot say everything, but I can say the following: our boys were kidnapped by a terrorist organization. There is no doubt about that," Netanyahu told reporters on Saturday, shortly after a security meeting with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon at the Israeli army's Kirya headquarters in Tel Aviv.
"We are in the midst of a widespread operation to locate and bring back the three young yeshiva students," Netanyahu said, regarding the disappearance of 19-year-old Elad Yifrach and Gil-Ad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel, both 16. They went missing on Thursday evening in the vicinity of Hebron while reportedly hitchhiking.
Netanyahu said he had ordered security forces to implement all the tools to find them and to prevent their transfer to Gaza or another place, while also preparing all Israeli forces for any possible scenario.
He also said that Israel holds the Palestinian Authority responsible and demanded its full cooperation in attempts to retrieve the missing Israelis.
The prime minister then took aim at the Palestinian unity government, ruling out any possibility for Israel to talk about peace with a government that involves Hamas.
A massive manhunt has been underway for the past 48 hours, as security forces, including more than 2,000 military troops, have been searching for clues to the three's whereabouts. The current assessment is that they are alive and in the West Bank.
An Israeli military source told the Ynet news website that according to current assessments, the searches would not terminate on Saturday. Another security official told the Channel 10 news that military forces conducted several arrests in Hebron overnight in hopes of tracking down the possible kidnappers.
JERUSALEM, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Israel's defense minister said Saturday that three Jewish teenagers feared to have been kidnapped by Palestinian militants in the West Bank on Thursday night were presumed to be alive.
"At the moment we are working under the assumption that they are alive," Moshe Ya'alon told the media in his first public statement on the crisis. He said security forces will not cease their efforts to rescue the youths. Full story
RAMALLAH, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed his security forces to help searching the three Israelis kidnapped on Thursday night in southern West Bank, a Palestinian said on Saturday.
President Abbas met with U.S. Consul in Jerusalem Michael Ratney in the West Bank city of Ramallah and officially informed him of the instructions given to the security forces in the West Bank, the official said. Full story