Three religious Israeli youths who attend a yeshiva in the Eztion Bloc of Jewish communities in Judea were feared kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists on Friday.
The three disappeared overnight while hitchhiking to their homes for the weekend. Israeli army spokesmen said suspicions were raised after officials at the yeshiva lost contact with the youth.
Israeli security forces launched a major operation to discover what happened to the youth, and Palestinian media reported massive military activity in and around the Judean city of Hebron.
“Over the past several hours, there has been a very large intelligence effort to try and determine what happened with those youths since they disappeared,” said Brig. Gen. Motti Almoz, the commander of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
Almoz added that there are additional facts regarding the case that are being withheld so as not create additional problems and interference for those working to find and/or rescue the three young men.
In the meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the families of the three youth and offered his steadfast support and sympathy. Government officials called on the nation to pray for the youths’ safe return.
Netanyahu also stated adamantly that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will be held personally accountable for the safety of the three youths if indeed they were abducted by citizens of the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian terrorist groups routinely call for the abduction of Israeli civilians and soldiers, noting that the Jewish state has proven its willingness to trade hundreds of jailed Arab terrorists for a single captive Jew.