(Reuters) – Three Israeli teenagers who were abducted by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank last month were shot at least 10 times with a silenced gun in what appeared to be premeditated killings, a U.S. official involved in the investigation said.
The disclosure clashed with speculation by some Israeli and Palestinian commentators that the captors intended to take hostages for a prisoner exchange but panicked and shot them.
The killing of the three Jewish seminary students followed the collapse of U.S.-brokered peace talks in April.
One of them, 16-year-old Naftali Fraenkel, also held American citizenship.
Israeli police believe the killings led far-right Jews to kidnap and burn to death a Palestinian youth in revenge, and the incident also contributed to an eruption of three weeks of clashes between Hamas fighters in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli military.