JERUSALEM, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday addressed the nation, warning that Israel must be ready that it takes time to find the three abducted Israeli teens.
"We are in the middle of a complex operation," Netanyahu said, as the search for the three teens, who were presumably abducted by Hamas in the West Bank, entered its fourth day.
"We should be prepared that the operation will take time," he added.
The three religious school students, two of whom aged 16, and one 19, have been missing since late Thursday. They were last seen around Gush Etzion, a settlement block in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
In a massive manhunt for the kidnappers, Israel has deployed large scale of military forces across the West Bank and imposed closures on some Palestinian cities and villages. Over the past days, the Israeli army arrested over one hundred Hamas members, including high ranking officials.
Netanyahu also called on members of the international community to condemn the incident.
"I urge those in the international community that condemn us for building in Jerusalem to clearly condemn this kidnapping," he said in a televised statement, his second since Saturday.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon as well as leaders of Canada, Great Britain, have condemned the kidnapping.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas released a statement on Monday in which he condemned the kidnapping of the teens for the first time. "Both sides should refrain from violence," the statement said.
Netanyahu later talked with Abbas on the phone and asked him to assist in finding the teens.
Netanyahu further said that Israel has seen an attempt by militants in the Gaza Strip "to open another front" while the Israeli military was engaged in massive search operations in the West Bank, referring to a recent spate of rocket attacks from Gaza and Israeli retaliatory strikes.
"We responded to it with force," Netanyahu said of the rocket fire. "Whoever tries to hurt the citizens of Israel will be hurt."
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who spoke after Netanyahu, expressed his confidence that Israel will ultimately free the teenagers.