WASHINGTON -- US Secretary of State John Kerry came out with harsh words for those responsible for the abduction of three Israeli teen boys on Thursday night, calling the event a "despicable terrorist act."

But the US cannot confirm who is the responsible party, and is still gathering information, the secretary said.

"The United States strongly condemns the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and calls for their immediate release," Kerry said in a statement.

"We continue to offer our full support for Israel in its search for the missing teens, and we have encouraged full cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian security services. We understand that cooperation is ongoing," he said.

The three yeshiva students, Naphtali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrach, 16 and 19 years old respectively, were taken in the West Bank by a terrorist organization, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu told the nation gripped by the event. Netanyahu pointed his finger at Hamas over culpability.

Frankel is a dual American-Israeli citizen.

"We are still seeking details on the parties responsible for this despicable terrorist act, although many indications point to Hamas’ involvement," Kerry added. "As we gather this information, we reiterate our position that Hamas is a terrorist organization known for its attacks on innocent civilians and which has used kidnapping in the past."





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