RAMALLAH West Bank (Reuters) - Israel sent
more troops to the occupied West Bank on Saturday to search for three
missing teenagers it says were abducted by Palestinian Islamist group
The army said it had also arrested another 10 Palestinians during
its hunt - the latest in a series of detentions and raids that have
raised tensions and triggered street clashes in the West Bank.
Hamas, which refuses to recognise Israel's existence, has neither
claimed nor denied responsibility for the disappearance of the
youths, who went missing near an Israeli settlement on June 13.
Hundreds of troops arrived around the city of Hebron on Saturday, a
day after the army declared the area a closed military zone, and
appeared to be carrying out searches, a Reuters witness said.
The army says it has searched more than 1,150 sites in the West Bank
and arrested more than 330 Palestinians, including 10 more on
Campaign group The Palestinian Prisoners Club said the army had
arrested 37 people on Saturday.
Overnight in Ramallah, troops raided the offices of a media
broadcast and production company that provides services to a number
of outlets, including the Hamas-affiliated al-Quds channel,
An Israeli military spokeswoman said the soldiers found "electronic
devices and magnetic media used for terrorism" that she said
belonged to Hamas, without going into further detail.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the kidnapping of
Gil-Ad Shaer and U.S.-Israeli national Naftali Fraenkel, both aged
16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19.
But the Western-backed leader has also criticised the extent of
Israel's recent raids, saying they amount to collective punishment.
The crisis has put pressure on a unity pact between Abbas's Fatah
party and Hamas. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki told
Reuters on Friday the deal would be threatened if Hamas was
responsible for abducting the three youths.
Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, an area that, along with East
Jerusalem and the West Bank, Palestinians want for a future state.
The group rejects peace talks with the Israel, which Abbas has held
in the past.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in Gaza on Thursday that
"regardless of who was responsible (for the teenagers'
disappearance) ... we stress on the right of our people to react to
the agonies of our prisoners in the occupation jails".
(Additional reporting by Baz Ratner in Hebron; Writing by Maayan
Lubell; Editing by Andrew Heavens)