US Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday condemned the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, and said many indications pointed to the involvement of Hamas.
"We are still seeking details on the parties responsible for this despicable terrorist act, although many indications point to Hamas' involvement," he said.
"As we gather this information, we reiterate our position that Hamas is a terrorist organization known for its attacks on innocent civilians and which has used kidnapping in the past."
Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu revealed Sunday afternoon that Israeli intelligence had identified the kidnappers as Hamas members.
"Hamas terrorists carried out Thursday's kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers. We know that for a fact," said Netanyahu in an official statement. "These teenagers were kidnapped and the kidnapping was carried out by Hamas members. Hamas denials do not change this fact."
He said the attack itself should come as no surprise, "because Hamas makes no secret of its agenda. Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel and to carrying out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians – including children."
Indeed, the Hamas charter calls not only for the destruction of the State of Israel, but for genocide against the Jewish people, and regularly glorifies the murder of Jews in its propaganda.
Netanyahu also had harsh words for Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, who he said bore responsibility as well for embracing the Islamist group.
"Instead of abiding by his international obligation to disarm Hamas, President Abbas has chosen to make Hamas his partner. Israel holds the Palestinian Authority and President Abbas responsible for any attacks against Israel that emanate from Palestinian-controlled territory.
"The Palestinian claim that the Palestinian Authority cannot be held responsible for an attack that took place in an area under Israeli security control is patently absurd.
"When an attack takes place in Tel Aviv or in London or in New York – all these places have been attacked by terrorists – the question is not where the attack takes place. The question is where it originated. The kidnappers in this case set out from territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and the PA cannot absolve itself of its responsibility."