So far, 150 Hamas and affiliated terrorists have been arrested by Israeli forces, a security official said Monday – and those arrests are bringing the army closer to solving the riddle of the whereabouts of three kidnapped Israeli teens.
“Most of the detainees are Hamas terrorists,” the official said. “Some of them are high-ranking members of the group's political wing. All are being interrogated, and we are getting useful information from them. The arrests, as well as the closure of Hevron, are bringing us closer to a resolution.”
Right now, there are massive IDF forces all over the Hevron area, where security officials believe the youths are being held. After a meeting Sunday night, officials decided to step up the pressure, and that has yielded some useful information, the official said.
Among those arrested Sunday night was Palestine Legislative Council speaker Aziz Duwaik, a Hamas member who is supposed to take the place of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman in a case of emergency - meaning Duwaik is second-in-line to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Duwaik is reportedly the most senior Hamas official in Judea and Samaria. He was arrested in his home in the Hevron area.
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 PA security forces.