JERUSALEM, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Israel will expand its operation against Hamas "if necessary," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday evening, as a massive manhunt for the killers of three Israeli teens continues.
"We will weaken Hamas in the West Bank and stop Gaza rockets," Netanyahu said, holding Hamas responsible for the killing of three Israeli teens who were kidnapped near Hebron in the West Bank two weeks ago.
Netanyahu said that Israel has three tasks at hand -- to locate the kidnappers, destroy Hamas' infrastructure in the West Bank and stop the rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
"We will find every one of those who took part in the kidnapping and murder of the three boys, no matter how long it takes," Netanyahu said. "We have already arrested hundreds of Hamas militants, closed dozens of its institutions, destroyed home and our hands are still outstretched."
Regarding the rocket fire from Gaza, Netanyahu said that the Israel Defense Forces had operated against Hamas. "If there is a need, we will broaden the military operation against Hamas."
Overnight Monday, the Israeli military hit 34 targets in the Gaza Strip that were associated with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movements, in response to 18 rockets launched on Monday evening from the strip. The Palestinians reported that four people were wounded and one missing.
On Monday evening, the bodies of Gil-Ad Sha'ar and Naftali Frankel, both 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19, were discovered near Hebron. They were kidnapped in the West Bank on June 12.
Israeli's Shin Bet Security Agency said that the two suspects of the perpetration are Marwan Kawasmen and Amar Abu-Isa, both being Hamas operatives from Hebron who have gone missing since the attack. Hamas officials denied any involvement in the attack.
Israeli ministers have, however, split on how to respond to the killing of the three Jewish teens.
Hawkish Economy Minister Naftali Bennett demanded a stern response, like a major operation, in the Gaza Strip, which was opposed by Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, both favoring limited campaigns against Hamas.
Ya'alon suggested expanding the settlement construction, a stance opposed by dovish Justice Minister and chief Middle East peace negotiator Tzipi Livni, who said such a move would decrease Israel's legitimacy in the international community.
JERUSALEM, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed on Monday evening the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens whose bodies were found earlier this evening in the West Bank.
"Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay," Netanyahu said in a statement to the press at the beginning of an urgent meeting of his diplomatic-security cabinet that was convened to discuss the recent developments and the possible courses of action. Full story
RAMALLH, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called for an emergency meeting of his leadership to debate the situation after three Israelis, who disappeared in southern West Bank in June 12, were found dead, officials said.
Nabil Abu Rdineh, said in a statement published by the Palestinian state-run Wafa news agency that the emergency meeting "will debate the current political developments and the consequences of the latest incidents." Full story