Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday that although the three teens kidnapped by Hamas terrorists last week have yet to be found, Israel is closer to discovering their whereabouts.
“Our first and most important task is to bring the boys home safely,” Netanyahu said Thursday at the IDF Judea Command Center. “All Israelis are united in their support of our efforts, and we will not shirk our duties. Security forces are working around the clock to find them, both in the intelligence area and in the field.
“I have been very impressed at how seriously the IDF, the Israel Police, Border Guards, and other security forces have been taking this mission,” Netanyahu said. “We know today more than we did a few days ago. But we have a long way to go still. We must display patience.”
In addition, Netanyahu said, “we have been striking at Hamas, the kidnappers of the youths. Our troops are arresting Hamas terrorists in the field, and are closing down Hamas institutions and confiscating their assets."
"We have rearrested more than 50 terrorists released in the deal to liberate Gilad Shalit. This is an important message to Hamas and all those who seek to do us harm: Hamas terrorists who have threatened to kidnap Israelis have themselves been arrested. I expect Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to remove Hamas from his government," added Netanyahu.
In the wake of the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens - Eyal Yifrah (19), Naftali Frenkel (16), and Gilad Sha'ar (16) - last week, Israel has vowed to deliver a “crushing blow” to Hamas' infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.
Netanyahu discussed plans to move against the Islamist terrorist movement at a meeting Monday of the Security Cabinet, in which ministers discussed punitive steps against Hamas. Since then, over 250 Hamas terrorists have been arrested, and dozens of Hamas institutions in Judea and Samaria have been shuttered.
Also speaking at the event was Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon.
“We have been continuing with our efforts for a week now,” said Ya'alon. “We will continue to act to release our kidnapped youths. We have sent the IDF's best units to deal with the situation, along with top officers from the police and Border Guards. This mission gets top priority over all others."