IDF forces arrest 18 Palestinians in ongoing West Bank operation

June 28, 2014 18:46

Security forces continue searches for Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel as Ramadan sets in; UN agency calls for restraint.

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IDF paratroopers

IDF soldiers from the Paratroopers Brigade search for the missing teens near Hebron.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

IDF forces arrested 18 Palestinians on Saturday in continued West Bank operations aiming to retrieve three Israeli teenagers kidnapped over two weeks ago.

Since the beginning of Operation Brother's Keeper, security forces have detained more than 400 Palestinians suspected of terror activity.

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The most recent arrests came at the end of the week during which the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) revealed the identity of two chief suspects wanted for involvement in the abduction.

IDF soldiers maintained their search for Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel on Saturday as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan sets in.

On Friday, a senior security source said the IDF was prepared to continue operating in full force during Ramadan to search for the kidnapped youths.

During the Ramadan holiday, the IDF expects to see more Palestinians up at night after breaking the fast. Large numbers of Palestinians are also expected to visit the Temple Mount for prayers.

On Friday, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed his concern over Israeli activities in the ongoing operations and called for all parties to exercise restrain.

While Rupert Colville said the OHCHR was concerned that three youths had still not been located, calling for their immediate safe return, the agency came down on Israel for certain actions taken during sweeps of the West Bank.

"We are alarmed about the loss of life, and the sharp increase in tension in the occupied West Bank, especially in and around Hebron, as a result of the Israeli operations," he said in a statement.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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