Prime Minister Netanyahu held a special Cabinet meeting on Sunday at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, during which he revealed that the Hamas terror group is behind the kidnapping of the three Israeli youth in Gush Etzion late Thursday night.
“This morning I can say what I was unable to say yesterday before the extensive wave of arrests of Hamas members in Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu said at the cabinet meeting. “Those who perpetrated the abduction of our youths are members of Hamas – the same Hamas that Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] has made a unity government with; this has severe repercussions. We are currently focusing all of our efforts on bringing the abductees back home.”
Netanyahu also mentioned the families of the abducted teens in his Sunday morning statement. “Before coming here, I spoke again with the families, and I embrace and encourage them from here, from the Cabinet table, and I know that I speak for all parts of the nation.”
In a later statement, the prime minister said that despite Hamas denying any association with the kidnappings, “Hamas denials do not change this fact. And this attack should surprise no one 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.”
An unknown organization named Du’alat el Islam initially claimed responsibility for the abduction, but security officials gave it no credit.
The IDF rounded up on Saturday night some 80 members of Hamas, including leading members and PA Parliament members. Security forces were attacked by rioters during the arrests; they responded with crowd dispersion means. A full closure has been imposed on all of Judea and Samaria.