Israeli Official Says Operation in Hevron Will Continue
Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (COGAT) said Sunday night that Israel has gathered information about the kidnapping of three yeshiva students last week, though he would not provide more information.
Speaking to the Palestinian Authority-based Ma’an news agency, Yoav Mordechai said that the IDF will continue to surround Hevron, erecting checkpoints and raiding houses, until it receives further information on the three.
Israeli military operations will continue in Hevron unless new information on the teens' whereabouts leads the army elsewhere, he stressed, adding that the army is not coordinating its activities with Palestinian Authority security forces.
He reiterated Israeli officials' claims that Hamas was behind the kidnapping of the youths, without providing information as to evidence behind the claims.
The IDF has been conducting an arrest operation of Hamas members throughout Judea and Samaria.
Early Sunday morning, top Hamas member Hassan Yousef was arrested as part of the operation. On Sunday night, IDF forces operating in Hevron surrounded a house, exchanged fire with its occupants, and arrested two terrorists from Hamas.
A senior IDF official told reporters Sunday afternoon that in the army's estimation, the three kidnapped teenagers taken Thursday night by unidentified captors are still alive, and are being held somewhere in the Judean Hills.
"The IDF is thoroughly familiar with Hamas' infrastructure in Hevron," he assured.