Israeli premier: Terror group took 3 missing teens

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Israeli premier: Terror group took 3 missing teens
Israeli soldiers patrol during a military operation to search for three missing Israeli teenagers near the West Bank city of Hebron, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Israeli security forces searched the West Bank for a second day Saturday, looking for three missing teenagers, including an American, who they fear have been abducted by Palestinian militants. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
Israeli soldiers patrol during a military operation to search for three missing Israeli teenagers near the West Bank city of Hebron, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Israeli security forces searched the West Bank for a second day Saturday, looking for three missing teenagers, including an American, who they fear have been abducted by Palestinian militants. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian man in the West Bank City of Hebron, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Israeli security forces searched the West Bank for a second day Saturday, looking for three missing teenagers, including an American, who they fear have been abducted by Palestinian militants. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
An Israeli soldier stands guard in the West Bank City of Hebron, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Israeli security forces searched the West Bank for a second day Saturday, looking for three missing teenagers, including an American, who they fear have been abducted by Palestinian militants. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian man in the West Bank City of Hebron, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Israeli security forces searched the West Bank for a second day Saturday, looking for three missing teenagers, including an American, who they fear have been abducted by Palestinian militants. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian man in the West Bank City of Hebron, Saturday, June 14, 2014. Israeli security forces searched the West Bank for a second day Saturday, looking for three missing teenagers, including an American, who they fear have been abducted by Palestinian militants. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
Israeli soldiers transport a burnt car which is reportedly connected to the disappearance of three teenagers near the West Bank city of Hebron, Friday, June 13, 2014. Israeli soldiers searched the West Bank on Friday for three missing teenagers from nearby settlements, one of them a U.S. citizen, amid fears Palestinian militants abducted them, authorities said. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
Israeli soldiers deploy near the West Bank city of Hebron, Friday, June 13, 2014. Israeli soldiers searched the West Bank on Friday for three missing teenagers from nearby settlements, one of them a U.S. citizen, amid fears Palestinian militants abducted them, authorities said. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
Israeli soldiers transport a burnt car which is reportedly connected to the disappearance of three teen settlers near the West Bank city of Hebron, Friday, June 13, 2014. Israeli soldiers searched the West Bank on Friday for three missing teenagers from nearby settlements, one of them a U.S. citizen, amid fears Palestinian militants abducted them, authorities said. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
Israeli soldiers deploy near the West Bank city of Hebron, Friday, June 13, 2014. Israeli soldiers searched the West Bank on Friday for three missing teenagers from nearby settlements, one of them a U.S. citizen, amid fears Palestinian militants abducted them, authorities said. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
Israeli soldiers deploy near the West Bank city of Hebron, Friday, June 13, 2014. Israeli soldiers searched the West Bank on Friday for three missing teenagers from nearby settlements, one of them a U.S. citizen, amid fears Palestinian militants abducted them, authorities said. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv, on June 14, 2014. Israel holds Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority responsible for the safety of three teenagers snatched from the West Bank, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Israels Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benjamin Gantz deliver a statement in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv, on June 14, 2014 , as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (unseen) listens on. Israel holds Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority responsible for the safety of three teenagers snatched from the West Bank, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli soldiers check the ID's of Palestinian cars as they man a checkpoint on the entrance of the West Bank town of Hebron on June 14, 2014, as they search for three teenagers who went missing near a West Bank settlement. The three, all students at a Jewish seminary, went missing late on June 12 as they were hitchhiking between Bethlehem and Hebron. AFP PHOTO/ HAZEM BADER (Photo credit should read HAZEM BADER/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon gives a press conference in the West Bank town of Hebron on June 14, 2014, following the kidnapping of three Israeli in the area. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held the Palestinian Authority responsible for the wellbeing of the three men, but Palestinians baulked at the idea they were to blame for the disappearance inside an Israeli-controlled area of the West Bank. AFP PHOTO/ HAZEM BADER (Photo credit should read HAZEM BADER/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli soldiers take part in a search operation for three Israeli teenagers believed kidnapped by Palestinian militants in the West Bank city of Hebron on June 19, 2014. Israeli troops arrested some 30 Palestinians in the West Bank overnight as they ramped up a massive search for three teenagers believed kidnapped by Hamas, the army said. AFP PHOTO/ HAZEM BADER (Photo credit should read HAZEM BADER/AFP/Getty Images)
An Israeli soldier stands guard in front of an armored vehicle during a search operation for three Israeli teenagers believed kidnapped by Palestinian militants in the West Bank city of Hebron on June 19, 2014. Israeli troops arrested some 30 Palestinians in the West Bank overnight as they ramped up a massive search for three teenagers believed kidnapped by Hamas, the army said. AFP PHOTO/ HAZEM BADER (Photo credit should read HAZEM BADER/AFP/Getty Images)
An Israeli soldier carries a computer unit seized from a factory in the West Bank city of Hebron on June 19, 2014 during a search operation for three Israeli teenagers believed kidnapped by Palestinian militants. Israeli troops arrested some 30 Palestinians in the West Bank overnight as they ramped up a massive search for three teenagers believed kidnapped by Hamas, the army said. AFP PHOTO/ HAZEM BADER (Photo credit should read HAZEM BADER/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian youths take part in military-inspired exercises during a summer camp organised by the Islamist movement Hamas on June 19, 2014 in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian youths take part in military-inspired exercises during a summer camp organised by the Islamist movement Hamas on June 19, 2014 in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian youth uses a fake gun he takes part in military-inspired exercises during a summer camp organised by the Islamist movement Hamas on June 19, 2014 in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian youth takes part in military-inspired exercises during a summer camp organised by the Islamist movement Hamas on June 19, 2014 in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian youth runs as he takes part in military-inspired exercises during a summer camp organised by the Islamist movement Hamas on June 19, 2014 in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian youths take part in military-inspired exercises during a summer camp organised by the Islamist movement Hamas on June 19, 2014 in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian youth takes part in military-inspired exercises during a summer camp organised by the Islamist movement Hamas on June 19, 2014 in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian youths take part in military-inspired exercises during a summer camp organised by the Islamist movement Hamas on June 19, 2014 in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian young boys take part in military-inspired exercises during a summer camp organised by the Islamist movement Hamas on June 19, 2014 in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian youth hold a national flag as he takes part in military-inspired exercises during a summer camp organised by the Islamist movement Hamas on June 19, 2014 in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian youth take part in military-inspired exercises during a summer camp organised by the Islamist movement Hamas on June 19, 2014 in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian Hamas supporters flash the sign of victory during a rally to express solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails on June 19, 2014 in Gaza City. Israel is to rush through a bill allowing force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners, a newspaper reported on June 17, 2014 as 80 Palestinian inmates were hospitalised after refusing to eat for nearly two months. AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMMED ABED (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian prepares throw a stone during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, June 19, 2014. Israeli soldiers clashed with Palestinians during an arrest raid early Thursday in the most violent confrontation so far in the weeklong search for three missing Israeli teens believed to have been abducted in the West Bank. Since the operation to locate the teens began a week ago, about 280 Palestinians have been arrested, the military said, including 200 members of Hamas. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)
A Christian worshipper from Democratic Republic of Congo is baptized in the Jordan River, in Yardenit, northern Israel near the Sea of Galilee, Thursday, June 19, 2014 where it is believed Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Israeli soldiers walk on a street in a market in an attempt to obtain security camera footage during a search for three missing Israeli teens believed to have been abducted, while scouring the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday, June 19, 2014. Israeli soldiers clashed with Palestinians during an arrest raid early Thursday in the most violent confrontation so far in the weeklong search for the missing teens believed to have been abducted in the West Bank. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
An Israeli soldier watch as others visit shops in a market in an attempt to obtain security camera footage during a search for three missing Israeli teens believed to have been abducted, while scouring the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday, June 19, 2014. Israeli soldiers clashed with Palestinians during an arrest raid early Thursday in the most violent confrontation so far in the weeklong search for the missing teens believed to have been abducted in the West Bank. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
An Israeli soldier holds a weapon as others inquire shops to obrain security camera footage during a search for three missing Israeli teens believed to have been abducted, while scouring the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday, June 19, 2014. Israeli soldiers clashed with Palestinians during an arrest raid early Thursday in the most violent confrontation so far in the weeklong search for the missing teens believed to have been abducted in the West Bank. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
An Israeli soldier carries a confiscated digital video recorder during a search for three missing teens believed to have been abducted in the West Bank city of Hebron, Thursday, June 19, 2014. Since the operation to locate the teens began a week ago, about 280 Palestinians have been arrested, the military said, including 200 members of Hamas. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
Israeli soldiers search for three missing teens believed to have been abducted in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, June 19, 2014. Since the operation to locate the teens began a week ago, about 280 Palestinians have been arrested, the military said, including 200 members of Hamas. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)
An Israeli soldier searches for three missing teens believed to have been abducted in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, June 19, 2014. Since the operation to locate the teens began a week ago, about 280 Palestinians have been arrested, the military said, including 200 members of Hamas. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)
Members of the Palestinian Civil Defense hose down a shop that caught on fire due to clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, June 19, 2014. Israeli soldiers clashed with Palestinians during an arrest raid early Thursday in the most violent confrontation so far in the weeklong search for three missing Israeli teens believed to have been abducted in the West Bank. Since the operation to locate the teens began a week ago, about 280 Palestinians have been arrested, the military said, including 200 members of Hamas. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)
An Israeli soldier breaks the lock on a house door in the village of Taffouh near the West Bank city of Hebron, Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Israeli security forces searched the West Bank, looking for three missing Israeli teenagers, including an American, who they fear have been abducted by Palestinian militants. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
Israeli soldiers stand next to an elderly Palestinian in the village of Taffouh near the West Bank city of Hebron, Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Israeli security forces searched the West Bank, looking for three missing Israeli teenagers, including an American, who they fear have been abducted by Palestinian militants. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
Israeli soldiers patrol during a search for three missing Israeli teenagers in the village of Taffouh near the West Bank city of Hebron, Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Israeli security forces searched the West Bank, looking for three missing teenagers, including an American, who they fear have been abducted by Palestinian militants. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
Israeli army soldiers take up positions during a search operation in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. Israeli security forces searched the West Bank looking for three missing Israeli teenagers who they fear have been abducted by Palestinian militants. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)
Israeli soldiers walk during an operation in Balata refugee camp in the West Bank city of Nablus,Tuesday, June 17, 2014. Israel's army says it has arrested 40 more Palestinians in the West Bank, expanding searches for three missing Israeli teens who Israel believes Hamas kidnapped last week. The arrests early Tuesday brought the total number of Palestinians detained since the kidnapping to over 200, most of them Hamas activists. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)
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By IAN DEITCH
Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A terror group abducted three teens, including an American, who disappeared in the West Bank, Israel's prime minister said Saturday, as soldiers searched the territory to find them.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again blamed the Palestinian Authority for the Thursday night disappearance of the teens. Palestinian officials say they are assisting Israeli forces, who pored over surveillance footage Saturday and arrested more than a dozen Palestinians.

There have been at least three claims of responsibility for the abduction, though none could be immediately verified.

3 Jewish Teens Still Missing In West Bank

Netanyahu made a televised address Saturday night after meeting with top security officials, saying Israeli forces were conducting "intensive operations" to locate the teens and bring them home.

"Our children were kidnapped by a terror group," he said. "There is no doubt about that."

Netanyahu said he directed Israel's security branches to use all means at their disposal to find the abducted teenagers and "prevent the possibility of their transfer to the Gaza Strip or anywhere else."

The Israeli military identified the teens as Naftali Frenkel, 16, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19. Israeli television station Channel 10 named Frenkel as the U.S. citizen that officials earlier mentioned. They were reportedly hitchhiking home when they were abducted.

Their kidnapping would be the biggest abduction of its kind by Palestinian militant groups in recent memory in the West Bank. Israeli-Palestinian tensions already were strained in part because of the recent formation of a Palestinian unity government that has the backing of the Islamic militant group Hamas.

Hamas, branded a terror group by the West for its attacks aimed at civilians, has been involved in kidnappings of Israelis in the past. The group routinely claims responsibility if involved in an attack, but has not claimed it took the teens.

Hamas ruled Gaza for seven years, after violently taking over the territory from the Palestinian Fatah group in 2007, and remains the de facto power there despite the unity deal.

Netanyahu said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas must do everything necessary to help return the teens. He said Abbas is responsible for any attack on Israel whether it emanates from the West Bank or Gaza.

"It's impossible to talk peace with Israel while simultaneously form a unity government with Hamas, a terror group committed to destroying Israel," he said.

However, Palestinian officials have rejected Netanyahu's contention that the Palestinian Authority, a self-rule government that administers 38 percent of the West Bank, was responsible for the fate of the teens. They noted that the three went missing in an area of the West Bank that is under full Israeli control.

Three different claims of responsibility for the kidnapping have emerged in the West Bank, though it's not clear if any were authentic.

In one leaflet, a group portraying itself as a branch of an al-Qaida splinter group said it kidnapped the three to avenge the killing of three members in a clash with Israeli security forces in the Hebron area earlier this year. Another statement purportedly came from the Al Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad.

Palestinians have been involved in other kidnappings in the West Bank. Last year, a Palestinian brought an Israeli soldier to a village in the West Bank and killed him in hopes of trading the body for his jailed brother. In 2001, a Palestinian woman lured an Israeli teenage boy over the Internet to the West Bank where he was killed by waiting gunmen.

The woman was released in 2011 along with over a thousand others for Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, who had been held captive in Gaza by Hamas-allied militants for more than five years.

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