Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal said Monday that his organization has no new information regarding the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers.
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In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Meshal said that he cannot confirm or deny the kidnapping of the three Israelis. "In any case, I congratulate the abductors because our prisoners must be freed from the prisons of the occupation," he said.
Earlier Monday, a senior officer in the Judea and Samaria Division said that Israel's security apparatus is absolutely certain Hamas carried out the kidnapping this month of three teenagers.
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.
The Israeli defense establishment has recently reached the conclusion Operation Brother’s Keeper in the West Bank to locate the kidnapped teens is nearing its end in the present format.
Senior politicians who spoke with top officials in the Israel Defense Forces and Defense Ministry in recent days got the impression that the IDF sees it will soon have to change the nature of the operation that began in response to the kidnapping of three teenage boys 11 days ago in Gush Etzion. The impending change will find IDF having to focus on finding the kidnapped youths mainly on the basis of intelligence gathering.