Israel blames Hamas over teen kidnappings

Sunday 15 June 2014 23.46
The two 16-year-olds and a third man aged 19 are seminary students in a Jewish settlement bloc
The two 16-year-olds and a third man aged 19 are seminary students in a Jewish settlement bloc

Israel has said that Hamas militants had abducted three Israeli teenagers in the occupied West Bank.

It warned of "serious consequences" as it pressed on with a search and detained dozens of Palestinians.

The two 16-year-olds and a third man aged 19, seminary students in a Jewish settlement bloc, disappeared last Thursday.

              
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters that:"These teenagers were kidnapped and the kidnapping was carried out by Hamas members,"
              
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri stopped short of a clear denial or confirmation the group was involved.
              
Since the three teenagers vanished, apparently while hitchhiking, the Israeli army has carried out house-to-house searches, round-ups and interrogations in the Palestinian city of Hebron and outlying villages.
              
Israeli troops used explosives to force their way into a Hebron home belonging to a Hamas-linked family after occupants did not admit them.

In one house people inside were hurt and, along with a third man, were taken away by soldiers.              

The army declined to comment, citing operational secrecy.
              
Earlier, the army said it had detained around 80 suspects overnight and would escalate the dragnet. 

Palestinian officials put the number seized by Israel so far at more than 100, including at least seven Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament and several people recently freed from Israeli jails.