Israel aims to break Hamas as hunt for youths intensifies

Israeli soldiers walk in a single file on a path during an operation in the West Bank town of Hebron on June 17, 2014Israel stepped up efforts to crush Hamas in the West Bank Tuesday as the hunt for three Israeli teenagers believed kidnapped by the Islamist movement entered its fifth day. So far, Israel has arrested around 200 people, most of them Hamas members, as it presses a vast search operation for the students, two of them minors. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Hamas militants of kidnapping the youths last week, but has warned that the hunt for them “may take time.” Israel has said it holds Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas responsible for the safe return of the three, with Netanyahu telephoning him to demand his help in the search efforts in what was their first direct political contact since 2012.

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