Operation Brother’s Keeper, the Israeli army’s massive search for three abducted Jewish teens, has intensified as it enters a new week, with IDF officials vowing they will leave no stone unturned.
Col. Eliezer Toledano, the commander of the IDF’s Paratrooper Brigade, said that three full battalions are taking part in the search and rescue operation, and that every soldier is unwaveringly committed to the mission.
“I am [personally] joining my soldiers, and despite the [harsh conditions] not one has asked when we are going home,” Toledano told the Israeli press. “We all believe that we will find the kidnapped youths, and it is with this faith that we march day and night.”
Over the weekend, the Israeli army arrested dozens more Hamas leaders and activists as it seeks out even the smallest clue as to where Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel are being held captive.
“Every pool in the area is being sucked dry. Locals are being questioned - anyone who can help, who might have local intelligence. This will continue in the coming days. We are turning over every stone,” a senior military source told The Jerusalem Post.
At the same time, another army officer told Israel Radio that violent Palestinian resistance to the search and rescue operation is increasing. Soldiers are being attacked with stones, Molotov cocktails and explosive devices, and in some instances have faced live gunfire.
In one particular fierce clash in the Samarian city of Nablus (biblical Shechem) on Saturday a Palestinian youth was shot dead as he and others attacked an Israeli search team. Another Palestinian man was killed when he ignored warning shots and approached Israeli soldiers in a threatening manner reminiscent of a suicide bomber.