Associated Press and Instigator News – In a statement this morning, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that the Islamist terrorist group Hamas is directly responsible for the three missing Israeli teens on the West Bank. Israeli soldiers searched the West Bank on Friday and Saturday for the three missing teenagers from nearby settlements, one of whom holds U.S. citizenship.
Netanyahu reportedly gave security forces the OK to use “all measures” at their disposal to find and free three teenagers.
A military spokesman said Saturday that “operational and intelligence” forces are deployed but would not elaborate. The teens went missing Thursday night after leaving their Jewish seminary in the West Bank. A Palestinian security official said Israel has arrested 14 people in connection to the case.
Israel is also examining footage from security cameras belonging to local shopkeepers and residents.
Tsuri Tsuf, a spokesman for a settlement where one of the teens is from, told Israel’s Channel 10 television that his community was “greatly worried” and gathered to pray for the safety of the youths. The station reported the teenagers hitched a ride the night before from their Yeshiva, or religious seminary, and had not been seen since.
Authorities found a burned-out car during their search that investigators were examining, local media reported.
Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency initially imposed a gag order Friday morning blocking local media from reporting on the incident. Later, an official familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press that one of the teens was an American and that Israeli authorities notified U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to publicly brief journalists.
The three teens are from settlements in the West Bank, territory Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war and that Palestinians are demanding as part of their future state along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
The disappearance of the teens is the first serious incident to strain relations with Israel since the formation of a Palestinian unity government earlier this month led by Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas and backed by the Islamic militant group Hamas.