June 16, 2014 By

Israel Accuses Hamas of Abduction; Retaliates by Arrest


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday, accused the Islamist Hamas movement of kidnapping three teens who disappeared near the southern West Bank town of Hebron and condemned the newly formed Palestinian Unity government which would govern the West Bank and Gaza together. The latest predicament has escalated the tensions between Israel and the newly-formed government.

“Those who perpetrated the abduction of our youths were members of Hamas. The same Hamas Abbas made a unity government with. This has severe repercussions,” Netanyahu said on Sunday in a statement ordering the security forces to “use all tools at their disposal” to find the three teenagers. Analysts say that if Hamas is involved in the abduction, then the new government could be in trouble.

The teens who study at two Jewish seminaries in the West Bank, have been identified as Gilad Shaer, 16, from Talmon settlement near Ramallah, Naftali Frenkel, 16, from Nof Ayalon in Israel, and Eyal Ifrach, 19, from Elad near Tel Aviv and are believed to have been kidnapped on Thursday night from the Gush Etzion settlement bloc between Bethlehem and Hebron, reportedly, while hitchhiking.

In a massive search and arrest overnight operation following Natanyahu’s orders, 80 Palestinians have been arrested with the defence ministry imposing a complete closure on Hebron and the surrounding area, as well as on the Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli press reports, most of the people arrested belonged to the Islamist movement Hamas, and included several members of the Palestinian parliament.
The incident takes place ten days after the new Palestinian Unity government was sworn in. Natanyahu had said that Abbas and the new government would be held responsible for any acts of violence in the Palestinian territories.

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