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Israel vows to 'tighten ring around kidnappers' as it targets Hamas infrastructure
By REUTERS,YAAKOV LAPPIN
20/06/2014
Palestinian medics said a 15-year-old was killed by Israeli forces conducting searches in the village of Dura, near Hebron.
 
The IDF arrested 25 wanted Palestinians in the West Bank overnight Thursday, and searched 200 homes on Thursday night. Nine raids were launched against Da'wa social services centers, used by Hamas to entrench itself in Palestinian civilian society.

Palestinian medics said Mohammed Dudin, 15, was killed in the village of Dura, near the city of Hebron in the West Bank. The Israeli military said troops had fired live ammunition when rocks and firebombs were thrown at them during an arrest raid.

Thousands attended a funeral in Dudin's hometown and Palestinian police dispersed a protest by some 200 women and men in Hebron demanding that Israel release Palestinian prisoners held in its jails.

Also on Thursday, the IDF dispersed riots in multiple locations in the West Bank. During clashes, Palestinians hurled Molotov cocktails, pipe bombs, an improvised grenade, and rocks at soldiers. One soldier was lightly injured in the grenade attack.

Since the start of the anti-Hamas operation last week, some 320 Palestinians have been arrested, 240 of which are members of Hamas, the IDF said.

During a meeting with the Counter-Terrorism Unit and the elite Sayeret Matkal unit on Friday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said the series of security raids on Hamas in the West Bank is more painful to the terror organization than air raids.

"We've begun extracting a heavy price from Hamas in the West Bank," Ya'alon said. The price is "much more painful than air strikes. We are severely harming Hamas's civilian infrastructure, and this is a very heavy price for the organization. Its funds, charity institutions, and civilian and terrorist infrastructure. There's a reason we're hearing their cries and threats. We won't stop this activity against Hamas infrastructure, until we feel it is exhausted. We have no intention to ignite the territory, and we're acting responsibly, with sound judgment. The ring around the kidnappers has to continue to get tighter."

"You and the other forces have in recent days been carrying out important operational activity. We are confident in your professionalism, determination, and the ability you are exhibiting. This is a wide-scale intelligence and operational effort, and we need to complete it when we place our hands on the kidnappers and reach the [abducted] teenagers."

"We are focusing our efforts here, and all other dealings have been set aside. This is the supreme mission. Our working assumption is that the kidnappers are live, until proven otherwise. You too need to take this into consideration, for if you come into contact with those responsible for the kidnapping, you must assume that the abducted are alive," Ya'alon said.

The IAF struck five targets in Gaza early on Friday in response to a Palestinian rocket attack on Ashkelon. The targets included three underground rocket launchers in northern Gaza, 1 terrorist center in central Gaza, and a weapons storage facility in south Gaza.

On Thursday night, the Iron Dome anti-rocket battery shot down an incoming projectile over the skies of Ashkelon.

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