World Bulletin / News Desk
The Israeli military has confirmed that three Israeli settlers who went missing earlier this month in the West Bank have been found dead.
"Three bodies were discovered in the area north-west to Hebron, north of the community of Telem," an Israeli army spokesperson said in a statement.
The statement went on to say that the bodies were currently undergoing forensic identification and that the families of the three settlers had been notified.
The trio went missing on June 12 from a Jewish-only settlement in the southern West Bank, prompting Israel to launch a major search operation across the Palestinian territory.
Since then, hundreds of Palestinians have been rounded up, including lawmakers, former cabinet ministers and members of Palestinian resistance faction Hamas.
Although no Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the disappearances, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had accused Hamas of kidnapping the three young settlers.
Israel PM says 'Hamas will pay' over settlers' death
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held Palestinian resistance group Hamas responsible for the death of three Israeli settlers who went missing in the West Bank in mid-June, vowing that "Hamas will pay."
Speaking at the start of a security cabinet meeting late on Monday, Netanyahu said the teenagers "were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by wild beasts."
For his part, Israeli President Shimon Peres condemned the killing of the three settlers and offered condolences to their families.
"We remain committed to bringing the terrorists to justice," he said in a statement. "Our resolve in the fight against terror will only strengthen and we will ensure that murderous terrorism of this sort will not dare to rear its head again."
Israel demolishes homes of settlers' suspected kidnapers
The Israeli army on Monday demolished the houses of two Hamas members accused by Israel of kidnapping three Jewish settlers in Hebron whose bodies were found earlier Monday in the West Bank.
Israeli bulldozers backed by Israeli forces demolished the houses of Marwan Qwasmi, 33, and Amer Abu Aisha, 29, in Halhul town, hours after the bodies of the three settlers were found near Hebron, eyewitnesses said.
The witnesses added that heavy clashes are now taking place in Halhul after the Israeli army stormed the town.
Hamas unfazed by Israeli threats
Deputy head of the Hamas politburo Ismail Haniyeh said on Monday that his group is unfazed by the Israeli threats to target its members in the wake of finding three settlers who had been missing for more than two weeks dead in the West Bank.
"The Israeli threats against Gaza and Hamas do not fear us, and we would stand up against any Israeli attempt to attack the Palestinian people,” Haniyeh told Anadolu Agency, hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Hamas for the settlers’ death and vowed that “Hamas will pay.”
“The [Israeli] occupation’s threats would only push the Palestinian people to show more steadfastness against any Israeli bid to attack the Gaza Strip,” he added.
Abbas calls urgent meeting over Israeli settler deaths
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has called an urgent meeting of thePalestinian leadership committee on Tuesday evening to discuss the possible fallout of the murder of three Israeli teen settlers whose bodies were found on Sunday in southern West Bank after 18 days of disappearance.
Abbas condemned the kidnapping and killing of the three settlers, saying that the kidnappers are seeking to destroy the Palestinian Authority, presidential spokesman Nabil Abo Rudeinah said in a statement carried by official Wafa news agency.
The Palestinian leadership committee brings together members of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee, members of the central committee of Abbas' Fatah movement, and the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.Last Mod: 01 Temmuz 2014, 09:48