JERUSALEM, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Israeli security forces arrested six Palestinians, five of them Hamas members, in the West Bank overnight Sunday, the Israeli military said in a statement Monday.
A total of 420 Palestinian suspects have been detained since the beginning of "Operation Brother's Keeper" to locate three Jewish teenagers kidnapped by Hamas militants while hitchhiking in the West Bank on June 12.
Searches and raids overnight saw minor confrontations between security forces and Palestinians in Beitunia and Khader, the Jerusalem Post said citing a security official.
"As we've assessed, the Ramadan is not a barrier to the searches," the security official said. He said the army was seeking to minimize friction with the Palestinian population during the month-long Muslim fast.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said Monday that forces have so far searched 2,200 locations across the West Bank, including 63 Da'wa welfare institutions operated by Hamas. The searches have uncovered dozens of weapons caches and labs for producing explosive devices, as well as escape and smuggling tunnels dug under private homes.
A division-size force composed of infantry, paratroopers, special forces and intelligence units assisted by surveillance drones continued to comb the West Bank, with the bulk of the searches taking place in and around the city of Hebron, where Israel says the teens' abductors had originated.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel will spare no efforts to retrieve the youths, and was prepared to intensify its crackdown on Hamas if required.