JERUSALEM/RAMALLAH, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Israeli security forces arrested 30 Palestinians in predawn raids in the West Bank as they continued searching for three Jewish youths abducted in the area a week ago, the Israeli military said on Thursday.
Previously, some 280 Palestinians have been rounded up since the manhunt began last Friday. A majority of the detained are affiliated with Islamist militant group Hamas, which Israel has accused of carrying out the abduction. Of those, 53 were once jailed in Israel, and freed in a prisoner swap deal in 2011.
Alongside the arrests, Israeli forces staged raids on one hundred locations in the city of Hebron and elsewhere in the West Bank, including 10 Hamas-linked civilian institutions known as Da' awa, which are used to promote their ideology and channel funds, as well as the offices of a student union at Birzeit University, the army said.
Deputy chairman of the university Ghassan al-Khatib condemned the arrests, saying the soldiers didn't find anything and just confiscated some documents that belong to the university.
The week-long operation, which involves the police, Shin bet security service and intelligence units, constitutes the largest crackdown by Israel on Hamas' West Bank operations in a decade.
Clashes erupted at several West Bank locales raided by Israeli forces overnight, including in the Jenin refugee camp, where residents hurled improvised bombs and opened fire at the troops who answered with riot dispersal weapons and live fire, the army said.
No injuries were reported among the Israelis. Two Palestinians were reportedly wounded in the return fire, Israeli media reported.
In Nablus, Israeli forces detained several protesters who hurled rocks and explosives at them as they were exiting the city.
No claims of responsibility for abducting the teenagers have been verified nor demands been made. The teens, who attended a male religious seminary, went missing while hitchhiking near Hebron last Thursday.
Military and defense officials said the massive search operations will continue based on the assumption that the youth are still alive.
Meanwhile, Hamas movement spokesman in Gaza Sami Abu Zuhri said in a press statement that the Israeli allegations on the disappearance of the three Israelis "are all lies and fabricated."
JERUSALEM, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Israeli security forces arrested 41 Hamas operatives in raids carried out in the West Bank overnight Tuesday, as a massive manhunt to retrieve three Israeli teenagers abducted by militants entered the fifth day.
The Israeli military said that most of the arrests were made in the vicinity of the Palestinian city of Nablus. Nearly 1,000 infantry troops entered the Balata refugee camp and the nearby town of Awarta, where weapons and explosives had also been discovered and confiscated, Army Radio said. Full Story
JERUSALEM, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone on Monday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, asking him to assist finding the three allegedly kidnapped teens, according to a statement by the Prime Minister's Office.
"I expect you to assist in returning the abducted youths and in apprehending the kidnappers," Netanyahu told Abbas, according to the statement. Full story