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Israel continues search for missing teens

June 14, 2014 9:35 P.M. (Updated: June 18, 2014 10:54 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained several Palestinian men and women in Hebron in the southern West Bank as a search continued overnight and Saturday morning for three teenagers who disappeared from the Gush Etzion settlement Thursday night.

Palestinian security sources and locals told Ma'an that large numbers of Israeli troops deployed Saturday in the Hebron neighborhoods of Beer al-Mahjar, Ein Sara, Nimra and Ras al-Joura.

In addition, Israeli forces stormed several Hebron-area villages and towns including Dura, al-Samu, Tarqumia, and Beit Kahil. Soldiers also deployed in the main road near al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron.

Israeli forces flew a drone and a number of military surveillance blimps over Hebron while several checkpoints were erected on the ground.

Israeli troops broke into the home of Palestinian journalist Yusri al-Jamal in the Abu Sneina neighborhood of Hebron. Al-Jamal told Ma’an that the soldiers broke open the main door of his apartment using explosives before they inspected the house strictly and detained his brother Yasser.

He added that during the inspection, the soldiers cuffed him and his brother Khamis for about three hours. Al-Jamal highlighted that Israeli troops detained Alaa Abu Zeina and Shadi Abu Zeina after ransacking their homes.

Furthermore, local sources said Israeli forces seized seven Palestinian men and two women in northern Hebron. Ammar Muhammad Abu Eisha, Othman al-Qawasmi, Dirara Abu Munshar, Iyad Abdul-Nabi Shabana, Marwan al-Qawasmi, and his brothers Sharif and Bilal were detained in northern Hebron along with two women. One was identified as Ikram Hasan Abu Eisha and the other as the wife of Marwan Saadi Abdul-Afou.

The military had earlier sent a large number of reinforcements to the Hebron district in search of three missing settlers they fear may have been kidnapped.

The Israeli army identified the teens as Eyal Yifrach, 16, Gilad Shaaer, 19, and Naftali Frenkel, 16.

A Palestinian security official said that a car believed to have Israeli license plates was found on fire Thursday night and that civil forces had extinguished the fire, suggesting that the car, which was a Hyundai A35, was related to the disappearance.

Eyewitnesses said Friday that Israeli special forces who were searching the area inspected the car and removed several objects.

Witnesses added that after prayers ended a number of locals gathered in the area, but that Israeli soldiers pushed them away and warned them to stay away from the vehicle.

Ofir Gendelman, spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that Israel holds the Palestinian Authority responsible for the three missing settlers.
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