A senior officer in the Judea and Samaria Division told military reporters Monday that Israel's security apparatus is absolutely certain Hamas carried out the kidnapping this month of three teenagers.
According to the officer, no connection was found connecting Hamas leaders abroad to the abduction, either before or after the act.
Israel still has "no positive indication of the abductees' condition, either way, so we are assuming they are alive," the officer said. He added special forces of the army and police have been preparing in case they get the opportunity to capture the abductees alive.
"There is no letup in the effort [to locate the abductees and their kidnappers]. Forces are being replaced, but there is no letup – not in the makeup or amount of personnel trying to bring the episode to an end," said the officer. "There is progress in the investigation, but I would not say we are at its end or have run its course."
Central command officials said Monday the expanded operation against Hamas and the infrastructure of its Dawa social welfare network, had run its course. Officers in the West Bank estimate about 2 million shekels ($580,000) in cash and equipment have been seized.
"We have to move on to other operations that could take a long time," said one officer, adding that this operation has repercussions not only for Hamas but also for the status of the Palestinian Authority. Officers in the West Bank consider Sunday's clash in Ramallah, in which local police used live fire to disperse a crowd of about 100 Palestinians that had gathered to confront them, to be exceptional.
"There is no doubt that some of this protest perhaps is supposed to be turned toward us – and toward the PA," said the officer.
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