AFP – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday accused militants from the Islamist movement Hamas of kidnapping three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.
His remarks were made after troops arrested 80 Palestinians overnight, many of them Hamas members, in what was the widest arrest operation in years.
“This morning I can say what I could not say yesterday before the broad wave of arrests of Hamas people in Judaea and Samaria,” he said, using the biblical term for the West Bank.
“Those who carried out the kidnapping of our youngsters are Hamas people – the same Hamas with whom Abu Mazen has forged a unity government, which has very serious implications,” he said referring to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
Netanyahu was speaking at the start of a special session of the weekly cabinet meeting held at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv.
The disappearance of the three teenagers came 10 days after a new Palestinian unity government of technocrats was sworn in, following a reconciliation agreement between leaders in the West Bank and Hamas in a move which has enraged Israel.