Israel scales back search operation for teens in West Bank
Tel Aviv has allegedly "scaled back" its search efforts for the three missing Israeli teens in fear of a Palestinian uprising, according to Reuters Tuesday.
Israeli forces have conducted raids at over 1,000 sites in the West Bank in the past 11 days in search of the missing teens who disappeared June 12 while hitchiking, but have not found any trace of them thus far.
At least six Palestinians have been killed by Israelis during the military raids, including several teenagers.
Another 355 were arrested in the 11-day crackdown.
Israel's search operation has been met with mounting international criticism, with the UN even saying that the raids may provoke a Palestinian revolt.
According to one political activist, Hazem Abu Hilal from Ramallah, "The Palestinian anger is growing and no-one knows where it will end."
In response and in an effort to curb any revolt momentum, Israeli officials have allegedly decided to cut back the search.
"Following this, a decision was made to significantly narrow the operation and focus it on pinpoint actions to return the abductees," said an official to Reuters, who declined to be named.
Israel's Prime Minister has blamed the disappearance of the youth on Hamas, but Hamas leadership has denied all involvement in the kidnapping.
Many reports are suggesting that Israel is using the disappearance of the youth as a political tool to dismantle the newly formed Palestinian unity government between Hamas and Fatah.
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- 80 Palestinians detained in search for missing Israeli teens
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- More than 250 Palestinian children in jail from ongoing Israeli raid campaign
- Palestinian teen abducted, killed in suspected revenge attack