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Hamas chief says unaware who snatched Israeli teens

June 24, 2014 3:41 P.M. (Updated: June 25, 2014 9:41 P.M.)
DOHA (AFP) -- Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal has denied having information about three Israeli teenagers thought to have been kidnapped in the West Bank, in an interview aired Tuesday.

"Frankly, we do not have information about what happened," the exiled head of Hamas' politburo told Doha-based Al-Jazeera television.

Mashaal also slammed security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel as a "disaster," a week after President Mahmoud Abbas pledged to maintain such coordination.

Since the youths disappeared from a hitchhiking stop in the southern West Bank on June 12, Israel has rounded up hundreds of Palestinians and killed five in a bid to find the teens, while also dealing a crushing blow to Hamas in the West Bank.

If the missing Israelis turn out to have been captured, their kidnapping would be "a logical and natural reaction to the violations of occupation forces," Mashaal said, quoted by Al-Jazeera's website.

"We support every resistance attack against the Israeli occupation, which has to pay for its tyranny."

Mashaal said the Palestinian Authority should abandon security coordination with Israel.

"It is unbelievable to reward Israel for its crimes through security coordination," he said.

Abbas vowed during a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Saudi Arabia last week to maintain security coordination with Israel.

"It is in our interest to have security coordination with Israel because that would help protect us," Abbas said at the time.

Israeli forces have detained over 500 Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Prisoners' Society, in over 400 targeted raids on homes and civil society organizations in the occupied West Bank since last week.

Eleven of the detained are members of the Palestinian parliament.

Soldiers have also killed five Palestinians and injured dozens more in the arrest raids.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
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