Israel bombs dozens of sites in the Gaza Strip and kills a Palestinian in raids in the West Bank – as the funerals of three Israeli teenagers take place.
The teenagers – Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frenkel – disappeared two weeks ago after lessons at their religious studies institute near an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Their bodies were found near the city of Hebron on Monday.
They were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by animals. Benjamin Netanyahu
On Tuesday night Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has previously blamed Hamas for the kidnappings, vowed that Hamas “will pay”.
“They were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by animals,” Mr Netanyahu was reported by Haaretz to have said before an emergency meeting.
“In the name of the whole of Israel, I ask to tell the dear families – to the mothers, the fathers, the grandmothers and the grandfathers, the brothers and sisters – our hearts are bleeding, the whole nation is crying with them.”
Overnight Israeli aircraft bombed dozens of sites in the Gaza Strip overnight – though the campaign was not radically different to its usual response to rocket fire into its territory. There was no suggestion that Israel was preparing to launch a major offensive.
The military said that its aircraft bombed 34 Gaza sites (see above), most of them belonging to Hamas, in response to 18 rockets fired into Israel since Sunday.
I also urge all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilise the situation. Barack Obama
In the West Bank, an Israeli military spokeswoman said troops shot and killed a man, identified by Palestinian officials as Yousouf Ibrahim Abu Zagha, who threw an explosive device at soldiers who were attempting to arrest a militant in the Jenin refugee camp.
The military added that three Palestinians were detained in the West Bank on Tuesday. Palestinian officials said five were arrested.
Before the teenagers, Israel had conducted a number of raids arresting suspected members of Hamas. Palestinian officials say six were killed in that operation.
Global leaders have condemned the killings, but have also urged both sides not to act in a way that will escalate tensions.
US President Barack Obama said: “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms, this senseless act of terror against innocent youths. I also urge all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilise the situation.”
This was an appalling and inexcusable act of terror perpetrated against young teenagers. David Cameron
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the murders were a “heinous act by enemies of peace”.
“There can be no justification for the deliberate killing of civilians,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement, adding that Ban “hopes Israeli and Palestinian authorities will work together to bring the perpetrators swiftly to justice.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This was an appalling and inexcusable act of terror perpetrated against young teenagers.
“Britain will stand with Israel as it seeks to bring to justice those responsible.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has previously condemned the abduction and pledged co-operation with Israel’s security forces. Hamas has not yet confirmed or denied whether it was responsible for the killings.