Israeli forces searching for three Jewish teenagers who went missing.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Palestinian Authority spokesman denounced Israel for blaming the new Fatah-Hamas unity government
for the disappearance of three settlers in the West Bank, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported Friday night.
Adnan Dmeiri said the PA was not responsible for the safety of settlers and had no way to prevent the possible kidnapping of the teenagers.
The PA “is used to accusations from [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu’s arbitrary government, which does not want to commit to any agreement and wants to damage all relations with Palestinians,” he was quoted as saying.
Earlier on Friday, Israeli government officials said they were holding Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responsible for the fate
of the three students. They also said they were holding the unity government responsible for the students' well-being.
Dmeiri was quoted as saying that the PA had no information about the missing settlers, noting that Gush Etzion, the settlement from which the teenagers are believed to have disappeared, “is under Israeli security control.”
He added that, "the PA is not responsible for the security of settlers.”
Dmeiri also told Ma'an he was unaware of any cooperation with Israel in the search for the settlers.
Netanyahu convened senior defense officials for a second meeting late Friday hours after authorities launched a frantic search for three yeshiva students who went missing in the West Bank on Thursday.
Israeli defense officials probing the disappearance of three Jewish teens in the West Bank are operating under the working assumption that Palestinian militants kidnapped the youths in order to trade them for terrorists incarcerated in Israeli prisons, Channel 2 reported on Friday.
According to the report, defense officials are waiting for intelligence leads or indications from the alleged captors in order to determine the next steps.
An extremist Salafist organization in the West Bank claimed responsibility for kidnapping three missing Israeli youths, Channel 10 is reporting.
The organization, Dawlat al-Islam, released a statement saying that the abductions were aimed at taking revenge against Israel for the killing of three of their operatives in the West Bank months ago. There has been no official confirmation of the claim's veracity.
Security forces fear that three teenage yeshiva boys, all 16 years of age, were kidnapped in the West Bank after they went missing from a hitchhiking spot in the Gush Etzion area Thursday night.
The youths went missing during the course of Thursday night and security forces are conducting sweeping searches of the area.
Israel says it holds the Palestinian Authority responsible for the well-being of the missing youths.The Jerusalem Post
has learned that one of the three is an American citizen. US Ambassador Dan Shapiro has been briefed on the situation.
The army said on Friday that it was seeking intelligence leads that could shed light on the fate of the missing youths. The IDF said that it was holding routine situational assessments with other security arms in order to ascertain the whereabouts of the missing yeshiva students.
While they do strongly fear the boys were kidnapped, security forces have not yet been able to rule out all other possibilities police said.
Meanwhile, security forces have also placed roadblocks on roadways leading to the border with Egypt and the Gaza Strip for fear that this event is a kidnapping by Islamist extremists who may seek to transfer the three Israelis to Gaza.
According to reports, the IDF and the Shin Bet security service are in touch with their counterparts in the Palestinian Authority security apparatus in an effort to advance the search.
A torched car that was found alongside a highway in the vicinity of the search. Investigators towed away the car and will begin examining the remains in an effort to determine whether there is any connection to the missing students search.
Police were in touch with the families and said that they have no reason to believe that the teenagers decided to go missing on their own, or run away from home or their yeshiva.
A spokesman for one of the families, said that the missing teen was with a friend when he disappeared. He was making his normal trek home for Shabbat from his high-school yeshiva, Makor Chaim in Kfar Etzion, as he does every week.
He called his father around from the hitching post and said he had already left school. Initially his father did not worry, because his son often took his time coming home and sometimes did not arrive until late at night.
But after midnight, the father called his son's phone. When he could not reach him by 2 a.m. he personally went to the police station. Until morning, the father held out hope, that his son had gone to a friend's home to sleep. A series of SMS message in the morning, revealed that this was not the case.
Palestinian media on Friday reported that a large number of Israeli forces had been deployed to the Hebron vicinity in search of the boys who went missing earlier in the morning.
Palestinian news agency Ma'an cited sources in the vicinity as saying Israeli forces had raided various home in the city of Dura, located southwest of Hebron, in search of the missing boys.