|Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrah.|
The bodies of three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped 18 days ago in the West Bank have been found, it was announced Monday night. Their families have been notified.
In light of the dramatic developments in the case on Monday, the Israeli security cabinet called an emergency meeting for 9:30 P.M.
The bodies were found north of the Palestinian town Halhul, just north of Hebron.
A large contingent of Israeli security forces were in the West Bank Monday evening between the Palestinian town of Halul and the West Bank settlement Karmei Tzur, just north of Hebron, where a wide search after the three missing kidnapped teens took place earlier on Monday.
Eyal Yifrah, 19, from Elad, Gilad Shaar, 16, from Talmon and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, from Nof Ayalon went missing from a hitchhiking station in Gush Etzion whilst making their way home from a yeshiva. Naftali Fraenkel was also an American citizen.
Following the kidnapping, the Israel Defense Forces launched Operation Brother’s Keeper, a massive search for the three throughout the West Bank and conducted operations against Hamas, which Israel held responsible for the abduction. Two of the teens were students at the Makor Chaim yeshiva in the religious kibbutz of Kfar Etzion, were thought to be hitchhiking to Modi'in, a city halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The third studied at Shavey Hevron yeshiva in the West Bank city of Hebron. When the three failed to arrive home or make contact with their families, authorities were notified.
8:40 P.M. Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel responded to the report saying "In a war as in a war one must strike at terrorist mercilessly on the one hand and respond with an appropriate Zionist response on the other." (Barak Ravid)
8:20 P.M. Palestinian residents of Hebron report that all entrances and exits from Hebron are closed by Israeli security forces. (Jack Khoury)
8:10 P.M. The Security Cabinet is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting at 9:30 P.M. (Barak Ravid)