Israel finds missing teenagers' bodies, vows to make Hamas pay

An Israeli woman holds a sign with images of three missing Israeli teenagers, at a rally in Rabin Square in the coastal city of Tel Aviv June 29, 2014. Photo: Reuters/Baz Ratner

Israel has found the bodies of three missing teenagers, accusing Hamas of their murder and vowing to make the Islamist movement pay.

"This evening, we found three bodies and all the signs indicate that they are the bodies of our three kidnapped youngsters," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ministers at the start of an emergency session of his security cabinet on June 30.

"They were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by human animals," he said."Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay."       

After several hours the cabinet session ended without further public comment and public radio said ministers would reconvene on July 1 evening. A senior Hamas official warned Israel against reprisals, saying it would open "the gates of hell."

The discovery of the three bodies in a field in the southern West Bank came 17 days after the youngsters disappeared, triggering a huge manhunt during which five Palestinians were killed and more than 400 arrested.

Two Hebron Hamas men named by Israel as prime suspects - Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Eishe - remain at large but Palestinian witnesses said troops blew up their homes early July 1.

The Israeli roundup - mainly of people linked to Hamas - brought a wave of rocket attacks against southern Israel by militants in the Gaza Strip, answered in turn by Israeli air strikes.

The latest round began around 1 a.m. July 1 with a rocket slamming into open ground in the Negev desert region. An army statement said nobody was hurt.

Shortly afterwards the Palestinian interior ministry reported around 30 Israeli air strikes on deserted militant training sites across Gaza but there was no immediate word of casualties. The ministry said that among targets hit by F-16...

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