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June 22, 2014 6:23 pm

Netanyahu Says Israel Has ‘Unequivocal Proof’ Hamas Behind Kidnapping of Teens

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Israeli PM Netanyahu at his weekly cabinet meeting. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said his government can prove that Gaza-based terror group Hamas is responsible for the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers last week in the West Bank.

“We are focusing on returning the abductees, on finding the kidnappers and on striking at the organization to which they belong. We have unequivocal proof that this is Hamas,” he told ministers at his government’s weekly cabinet meeting. “We are sharing this proof and information to this effect with several countries. Soon this information will be made public.”

Netanyahu also called for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve his party Fatah’s newly formed unity government with Hamas after the PA leader, speaking in Saudia Arabia last week, demanded the release of the captured boys.

“I think that at that time Abu Mazen’s remarks in Saudi Arabia will be put to the test in practice,” the Israeli prime minister said. “His remarks will be tested not only by actions to return the boys home but by his willingness to dissolve the unity government with Hamas, which abducted the youths and calls for the destruction of Israel.”

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Netanyahu said he met with the parents of the abducted teens over the weekend and promised them that the Israeli government is doing everything to bring the boys back home safely. He also mentioned that Israeli troops have been facing resistance from locals in Judea and Samaria as the search for the missing youths continues.

“We are in the midst of a continuing and focused effort to – first of all – bring the boys home. This effort entails a certain friction with the civilian population in Judea and Samaria,” he said. “We have no intention of deliberately harming anyone but our forces are acting as necessary for self-defense and from time to time there are victims or casualties on the Palestinian side as a result of the self-defense actions of our soldiers.”

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