Israel Holds Murdered Teenagers’ Funerals

Israel HamasIsrael has held the funerals of three teenagers who were abducted and murdered while hitch-hiking in the occupied West Bank.

Israel has blamed the Palestinian militant group Hamas for the deaths. Hamas has denied any involvement.

The youths’ bodies were found on Monday evening, more than two weeks after the trio went missing.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Hamas will be made to pay a price for the killings.

Overnight, Israel launched more than 30 air strikes on facilities linked to militant groups in the Gaza Strip after 18 rockets had been fired into Israel since Sunday night, the Israeli military reported.

Mr Netanyahu, who is attending the joint burial for Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, earlier said the teenagers had been “kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by human animals”.

Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Shaar (16) and Eyal Yifrach (19), found dead near Hebron on 30 June The abductions of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach sparked a massive search operation

The funeral is taking place at Modein cemetery in central Israel. Modein, which is between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is close to the boys’ family homes.

The teenagers’ bodies were found under a pile of rocks near the Palestinian town of Halhul. An Israeli official said it appeared the youths had been shot soon after their abduction.

The teenagers were last seen at a busy hitch-hiking spot, from where the BBC’s Yolande Knell reports

Israeli troops flooded into Halhul after the discovery.

Israel’s Shin Bet security agency had named named two Hamas members from Hebron – Ayoub al-Kawasma and Abu Aisheh – as suspects. The Israeli military raided the homes of both men, setting off explosives.

Israeli security forces have set up blockades and closed down whole areas around Halhul, a few kilometres from where the teenagers were last seen.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called an emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership and has expressed “regret” over the deaths.

The disappearance of the teenagers on 12 June sparked a huge search operation in Palestinian towns and cities across the West Bank.

More than 400 Palestinians were arrested, while five were killed in fighting with Israeli troops. — BBC


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