JERUSALEM: Israel holds the Palestinian Authority responsible for the safe return of three teenagers kidnapped in the West Bank by a “terror organisation,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday.
“Our young people have been kidnapped by a terror organisation... there is no doubt about that,” Netanyahu told reporters in Tel Aviv as a massive manhunt for the three youngsters entered its third night.
The youngsters, one of whom also holds a US passport, are believed to have been snatched on Thursday night from the Gush Etzion settlement bloc between Bethlehem and Hebron, reportedly while hitchhiking. They were studying at two Jewish seminaries in settlements in the southern West Bank. Their disappearance has prompted a huge search by the army and border police.
Netanyahu said he placed responsibility for their safe return on the shoulders of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority.
The three youths were identified yesterday 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.