Late Monday, Israelis were formally informed that their worst and growing fears about the fate of three kidnapped teens were confirmed. The bodies of the three teens kidnapped while traveling home from school of June 12 were found about 5:00 PM Monday afternoon, partially hidden in a field north of the city of Hebron.
The area where the bodies were found late Monday afternoon by Israeli security forces was immediately declared a closed military zone.
Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gil-ad Shaar, 16, and Israeli-American citizen Naftali Fraenkel, 16, were kidnapped at a popular hitchhiking station outside the town of Alon Shvut in the Etzion Bloc south of Jerusalem.
The kidnapping resulted in an unprecedentedly large national mission to find the missing boys. The military launched ‘Operation Brother’s Keeper’ which also lead to a severe crackdown against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, thought responsible for the kidnappings and murders of the three boys arrests.
Immediately after the bodies were found and identified, the parents of the missing boys were informed that their children were dead. The news was not announced until after the families had been informed. Military sources tell Israeli news sources that the state of the bodies lead them to believe that the boys were murdered very soon after they were abducted.
Late Thursday Israel named two Hamas members–both still at large–as primary suspects in the abductions and now presumably in the murders. The suspects have been missing since shortly before the boys were kidnapped.
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said, “I was filled with deep sadness upon hearing of the murders of Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrach by Hamas terrorists,” and called for Israel to undertake a campaign with the goal of “eradicating Hamas.”