Israel Blames Hamas After Kidnapped Teens Found Dead

Following the IDF announcement that the bodies had been found, Israeli officials put renewed pressure on Hamas and P.A. president Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel Blames Hamas After Kidnapped Teens Found Dead
Israeli Defense Force

The bodies of three Israeli teens who went missing in the West Bank several weeks ago have been found.

Israeli Defense Forces announced Monday that Gilad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah were found dead on the outskirts of Hebron. The three teenagers disappeared while hitchhiking near that area on June 12. (Via Twitter / @IDFSpokesperson, Al Jazeera)

Following the disappearance, Israel launched an intensive manhunt throughout the West Bank to find the missing boys. Over 400 Palestinians were arrested as security threats and five people were killed during the operation. (Via Fox News)

Israel's security service claims two Palestinian men working for Hamas abducted the three boys. The militant Palestinian organization has taken credit for similar kidnappings and murders in the past, but has not confirmed or denied responsibility in this case.

The incident has inflamed tensions between Hamas and Israel — earlier this week the IDF and Hamas exchanged rocket and missile fire for the first time since 2012. (Via Haaretz)

And the discovery of three bodies is unlikely to ease those tensions. The Jerusalem Post reports Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his security cabinet Monday, "[The boys] were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by animals. ... Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay."

It's also expected to put political pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has publicly condemned the kidnapping. His Fatah government signed a controversial unity deal with Hamas two months ago. (Via C-SPAN)

Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer: "It's one thing for him to condemn terrorism, it's another thing for him to sit on the government with a bunch of terrorists. ... He has to choose: peace with Israel, or pact with Hamas. He can't have both." (Via CNN)

The IDF says it's still searching for the two suspects believed to have kidnapped the teens. A Hamas spokesperson denied all Israeli accusations against the group, and warned the group would defend itself against any assault by Israel.