Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday evening pledged to track down the killers of three teens who were laid to rest earlier in the day, at a funeral attended by tens of thousands of mourners.
Speaking at the outset of a special session of Israel’s Security Cabinet held at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, the PM vowed “to reach the murderers and all those who participated in the kidnapping. Whoever was involved in the kidnapping and the murder will bear the consequences.”
Israel holds Gaza-based Hamas responsible for the abduction and deaths of high-schoolers’ Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrach, who were kidnapped from a hitchhiking post on June 12.
“We will neither rest nor slacken until we reach the last of them and it does not matter where they will try to hide,” Netanyahu said. “We will reach them all even if it takes time. This is our first goal and it will be carried out.”
Netanyahu said “the entire nation supports the families and the entire nation is united in our struggle against murderous terrorism. We are fighting it decisively and with determination.”
Saying that Israel “must vigorously strike at Hamas members and infrastructures in Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu pointed out that security forces have “already arrested hundreds of Hamas activists. We have closed dozens of institutions. We have demolished homes. We are still active.”
During the ongoingÂ Brother’s Keeper rescue operation, the army said it has detained “419 terror operatives, out of whom 335 Hamas affiliated terrorists, as well as 12 of the organizations leaders and 56 detainees who were imprisoned in the past and released in the 11â€² Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.”
“The IDF has managed to paralyze Hamas capabilities on all levels of the organization, includingÂ leadership, operatives, recruiting, incitement and finance,” according to a statement sent to reporters, that also said forces have closed down 63 Dawa institutions, which “operate on behalf of Hamas.”
“In practice, these institutions operate to empower Hamas and broaden its grip in Judea and Samaria, to trace and recruit operatives and to raise money for terrorist activity.”
The army said it confiscated 1,200,000 NIS in funds used for terror activities, and that “the money confiscating operations constitute a direct blow to Hamas’ financial infrastructure.”
Netanyahu also called to “act against Hamas” in the Gaza Strip.
Qassam and mortar crews have pummeled Israeli villages surrounding the coastal enclave prior to and since the abductions, as well as during Netanyahu’s statements to the press.
Retaliating Israeli airplanes have struck close to 50 of what the army has said were terror targets, rocket firing sites and other facilities across the Strip.
However, Netanyahu continued, Â ”Hamas is continuing to encourage the abduction of our citizens and it is directly responsible for firing rockets and mortars at our territory, including in the past few hours.”
“The IDF has been active in recent days against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip and here as well we are still active. If need be, we will expand the campaign.”