TEL AVIV – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s condemnation Sunday of the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers omits the fact that one of those abducted is a U.S. citizen.
“The United States strongly condemns the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and calls for their immediate release,” read Kerry’s official statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.”
One of the three teens kidnapped last Thursday is Naftali Frenkel, 16, a dual Israeli-American citizen whose parents live in the central Israeli town of Nof Ayalon. The two others are Israelis Gilad Shaar, 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19. All three were last seen trying to hitch rides near the West Bank city of Hebron. Hitchhiking is a regular occurrence in Israel and is usually considered safe.
The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv was informed Friday that U.S. citizen Frenkel was among those abducted.
Frankel’s mother, Rachel Frenke, told reporters Sunday the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv has been “very supportive.”
Kerry echoed comments from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in the day, with the secretary of State saying that “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,” Kerry added.
Netanyahu Sunday said at a cabinet meeting he holds Hamas responsible for the kidnapping.
“Today I can say what I refrained from saying yesterday ahead of the wave of arrests that captured Hamas operatives in Judea and Samaria,” he said. “Hamas men carried out the kidnapping. This is the same Hamas with which Abbas entered a unity government. This has grave consequences.”
Indeed, informed Middle Eastern security officials told WND there is information Hamas coordinated with Salafist groups in the Hebron area to carry out the kidnapping.
Sami Abu-Zuhri, a Hamas spokesperson in Gaza, called such claims propaganda being used to serve an intelligence agenda.
“The arrests of senior Hamas members in the West Bank indicates hysteria and indecision in Israel,” he added in a Facebook posting.