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Netanyahu: “Unequivocal Proof” Hamas Is Behind Abductions

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that forthcoming evidence would implicate Hamas in the abductions, as the search continued through the weekend for three Israeli teenagers kidnapped earlier this month.

He insisted that the government had “unequivocal proof” that the kidnapping was Hamas’s doing, and that he had provided it to several countries and would make it public soon. And after criticism from two of his own ministers about having initially brushed off Mr. Abbas’s promise to help find the teenagers, he said in an interview with NBC News, “I think it was good that he said that.”

He also told NPR in an interview this week: “We’ve pretty much figured out who are the kidnappers…The actual perpetrators, the supporters, the command structure and there’s no question—these are members of Hamas. We’ve passed some of that information to the U.S. government and others. We’ll make it public as soon as the investigation enables us to do that. Our—my number one goal right now is to bring back our three kidnapped boys.”

He also told NPR: “Our first goal is to get our boys back. The second is to find the kidnappers who are Hamas. The third is to weaken as much as possible Hamas that performs these grizzly deeds and calls for our destruction. That’s natural. Anybody would do that just as you’re fighting al Qaeda everywhere you can. I think that if you are trying to make peace you can’t have a unity pact with al Qaeda — in this case with Hamas. You have to break away from it. And I think there are perhaps some thoughts to that effect in certain Palestinian circles and I hope that they produce action. So I think that the end result of this should be not only to try to bring back these teenagers and to apprehend their direct killers but also to break away from this pact with Hamas that can — is a giant step backward from peace. …And breaking the pact with Hamas will be a step towards peace.

The Iran-backed organization has for days been thought to have been behind the kidnappings – top officials from the rival Fatah faction last week acknowledged as much – despite having last month inked a unity agreement with Fatah, which among other things obligated the group to cease carrying out terror attacks. The unity deal had at the time been defended by Fatah leaders and by swaths of the international community as a necessary prerequisite to establishing a peace deal with Israel, and had been blasted by Israeli leaders for among other things emboldening Hamas and providing it with a lifeline.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki last week brushed off questions from reporters on the topic, referring press to a statement released that weekend:

“The United States strongly condemns the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and calls for their immediate release. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families. We hope for their quick and safe return home. 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.

“We are still seeking details on the parties responsible for this despicable terrorist act, although many indications point to Hamas’ involvement. 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.”

By Combined Services

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