Israeli security forces increasingly believe that terrorists murdered yeshiva high school students Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha'ar (16), and Eyal Yifrah (19) shortly after their abduction, according to evidence revealed Tuesday morning.
An IDF source told Arutz Sheva Tuesday that shots could be heard in the recording of the boys' fateful call to police hotline 100, shortly after one of the teens whispered "we've been kidnapped!"
The source also laid out a basic timeline of events. After the boys entered the vehicle at the Alon Shvut intersection at Gush Etzion, the vehicle traveled west, then made a U-turn toward Hevron.
Shortly after, one of the boys called police, and the shots were fired. The abductors apparently realized that police had been alerted and assumed that they would shortly be tracked down. They may therefore have decided on the spot to murder the boys and get away as fast as they could. They had no way of knowing that the emergency call had been mishandled by police, and that the search for the boys would not begin until eight hours later.
On Friday morning, the car where the abduction occurred was found near the Palestinian Arab settlement of Dura, along with a rifle and ammunition casings.
While maintaining that the boys are considered to be alive until proved to be otherwise, security forces have in fact been aware that the most likely possibility is that the abduction went wrong, with the terrorists murdering the boys sometime late Thursday night, June 12, or early on the 13th. This is indeed what happened. The boys were then buried in a shallow grave near Halhul sometime before Friday morning.
Later Tuesday, the IDF and security forces will discuss options, as officials weigh how to both dilute the 15,000-strong IDF force estimated to be currently carrying out operations in the Palestinian Authority (PA) on the one hand, and continue its crackdown on Hamas and search for the killers on the other.
A senior IDF officer told Arutz Sheva early Tuesday that since "Operation Brother's Keeper" began seventeen days ago, 419 Palestinian Arab terrorists were arrested total - including 56 terrorists released during the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal, 276 active Hamas terrorists, and 12 Hamas leaders. More than 2,200 homes were searched, and two radio and television stations were closed.
Meanwhile, a manhunt continues for terrorists and prime suspects Marwan Kawasmeh and Amar Abu-Eisha, well-known Hamas terrorists operating in the Hevron area.