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Middle East

Israel intensifies hunt for missing teenagers

Army says it has searched 1,350 West Bank sites and arrested more than 330 Palestinians in search for missing teens.

Last updated: 21 Jun 2014 22:35
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Hundreds of Israeli troops were deployed around the city of Hebron on Saturday [Reuters]

Israel has sent more troops to the occupied West Bank to search for three missing teenagers it says were abducted by the Palestinian group Hamas.

The military said it arrested 10 Palestinians on Saturday and that some 1,350 sites in the West Bank had been searched so far and more than 330 Palestinians detained.

The raids have triggered street clashes in the West Bank in which two Palestinians have been killed.

Hamas has neither claimed nor denied responsibility for the disappearance of the youths, who went missing near an Israeli settlement on June 13.

Hundreds of troops were deployed around the city of Hebron on Saturday, a day after the army declared the area a closed military zone, and appeared to be carrying out searches, a witness told the Reuters news agency.

Overnight in Ramallah, troops raided the offices of a media broadcast and production company, witnesses said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the soldiers found "electronic devices and magnetic media used for terrorism" that she said belonged to Hamas, without going into further detail.

Israel has also targeted welfare organisations it accuses of aiding Hamas. Soldiers raided 30 such institutions on Thursday and 15 more on Saturday, a military spokesman said.

Campaign group The Palestinian Prisoners Club said the army had arrested 37 people on Saturday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the kidnapping of Gil-Ad Shaer and US-Israeli national Naftali Fraenkel, both aged 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19.

But the Western-backed leader has also criticised the extent of Israel's recent raids, saying they amount to collective punishment.

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Source:
Reuters
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