World Bulletin / News Desk
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday accused the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas of abducting three Israeli settlers missing since Thursday.
"Those who carried out the abduction of our boys were members of Hamas," Netanyahu said at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, according to the Israeli Radio.
Three teenage Jewish settlers went missing late Thursday in the southern West Bank.
Netanyahu said he was only able to reveal that Hamas had abducted the three after Israeli security forces had raided the homes of scores of Hamas leaders and members in the West Bank and detained them.
Israeli forces had detained approximately 80 Hamas leaders, including former ministers, lawmakers and mosque preachers, in the early hours of Sunday.
The Israeli army has cordoned off the West Bank city of Hebron as part of search efforts for the three Jewish teenage settlers.
It has also closed down all crossings with the Gaza Strip.
The detainees included former ministers, lawmakers and mosque preachers, according to the Palestinian NGO Palestinian Prisoners' Club.
No group has claimed responsibility for seizing the three settlers.
HAMAS SLAMS ACCUSATIONS
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas on the other hand rejected Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu's accusations of abducting three Jewish settlers from the West Bank.
Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri dismissed Netanyahu's accusations as being "stupid" and "intelligence-driven".
He said he was only able to reveal the accusation until after Israeli security forces had raided the homes of scores of Hamas leaders and members in the West Bank and detained them.
Abu Zuhri warned Israel against escalating its aggressions against the Palestinian people after Netanyahu's accusation.
"Israel will be responsible for any escalation against the Palestinian people and its leaders," he said in a statement obtained by Anadolu Agency.Last Mod: 15 Haziran 2014, 13:43