BREAKING NEWS–The militant group Hamas has kidnapped an American citizen. The terrorist group, in total, is responsible for the kidnapping of three teens. In response, Israel has promised “serious consequences” as they press on in their search for the missing youths.
On Thursday, two 16-year-olds and a third 19-year-old man who were seminary students in the Gaza settlement went missing.
While there hasn’t been a claim of responsibility yet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “These teenagers were kidnapped and the kidnapping was carried out by Hamas members.”
Since the three teens disappeared, allegedly while on a hiking trip, Israeli troops have carried out house-to-house searches along with roundups and interrogations throughout the Palestinian city of Hebron and the nearby villages.
The Israeli army said that it had detained nearly 80 suspects and would continue to escalate their efforts until the teens are found. Among those who have been detained are seven known Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament and several who have recently been freed from Israeli prisons.
According to Israeli officials, the students are identified as Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Sha’er and Naftali Frankel. Frankel is a U.S. citizen. The students were able to phone police on Thursday and report that they were being kidnapped in their last known communication, however officials said they have no idea if they’re dead or alive.
Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated Netanyahu’s accusations against Hamas in a statement earlier this week.
“We are still seeking details on the parties responsible for this despicable terrorist act, although many indications point to Hamas’ involvement,” Kerry said.
“As we gather this information, we reiterate our position that Hamas is a terrorist organization known for its attacks on innocent civilians and which has used kidnapping in the past.”
During broadcst remarks at a cabinet session at Israel’s military headquarters in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu warned of “serious consequences” for Hamas in the kidnappings. He later said in English that “Israel will act against the kidnappers and their terrorist sponsors and comrades.”