On ‘Day 15’ of Operation Brother’s Keeper, Defense Minister vows IDF’s relentless search for abducted Israeli teens will continue.
• PA President Abbas: Abductors seek to harm Palestinian people.
• Mayor of Hebron pleads for teens’ release
Operation Brother’s Keeper entered Day 15 Friday, as the Israel Defense Forces’ search for abducted Israeli teens Gil-ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frenkel continued across Judea and Samaria.
Security forces operating in the Hebron area arrested 16 Palestinians overnight, and according to military sources 136 sites were searched.
Several small clashes between Israeli forces and local residents were noted, and one Palestinian, who was wanted for questioning, was shot and seriously wounded while attempting to flee soldiers searching the village of as-Samu, south of Hebron.
Five Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of Operation Brother’s Keeper two weeks ago.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon commented on the operation Thursday while attending an Israeli Air Force cadets’ graduation ceremony.
“Even now we continue in our search for Naftali, Gil-ad and Eyal, in a large-scale operational and intelligence effort that includes the IDF, the IAF, the Shin Bet security agency, the Israeli Police and the Border Guard. We will not rest until we find the boys and get our hands on their abductors,” Ya’alon said.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, who also spoke at the ceremony, said, “Our primary mission right now is to retrieve Naftali, Gil-ad and Eyal. For the past 14 days the IDF, in conjunction with the Shin Bet and other security forces, has been working tirelessly, day and night, leaving no stone unturned in our search for the boys. We will continue to do this, while exercising operational discretion and tenacity, for as long as it takes.”
Hebron Mayor Dawood Zaatari on Friday urged the teens’ release.
“These boys have families and everyone hopes they will be reunited with them soon. All of us, on both sides, want to see this crisis come to its end,” he told Army Radio.
He noted that the extensive IDF operation in and around Hebron has had a detrimental effect on the city’s economy. He defined the closure imposed on the city as “collective punishment that has us losing millions of shekels a day.”
Also on Thursday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinian security forces are working closely with their Israeli counterparts to find the missing teens and their abductors.
Meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, Abbas said he hopes the three are found safe and sound, further stressing that those responsible for the abduction seek to undermine the Palestinian Authority and harm the Palestinian people.
In a recent interview in the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said that “Israel does not seek to make life difficult for the Palestinian population with this [operation]. The search is conducted according to available intelligence.”
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=18435