At approximately 17:30 Israel time (June 13, 2014), the IDF Spokesman released a special announcement:
"During the night, contact was lost with three teenagers in the Gush Etzion area [of the West Bank]. The security forces are acting to locate the missing youths and extensive searches are being conducted at this time in the area."
The three Israeli teenagers, all yeshiva students, were last seen late Thursday night in the area of Gush Etzion. Forces are conducting a widespread operation in order to locate them.
IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz said the current mission is to bring the three Israeli teenagers home safely and as soon as possible. "We are concentrating all of our intelligence efforts on trying to track down the missing individuals."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a security assessment of the situation, at his Tel Aviv office, at the Defense Ministry, with the participation of Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and the ISA. The Prime Minister previously held a security consultation at his Jerusalem office with the participation of Defense Minister Yaalon and Public Security Minister Aharonovitch.
Israel holds the Palestinian Authority responsible for the well-being of the missing.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry (June 13) and told him that Abu Mazen was responsible for the well-being of the missing. The Prime Minister added that what has been happening on the ground since Hamas' entry into the Palestinian government is destructive and the result of the entry of a murderous terrorist organization into the government.
President Shimon Peres: "Our soldiers are operating without respite in Hebron and in the villages to find the three boys. The terrorists will be brought to justice. They are the envoys of death and destruction, they offer no hope. The kidnapping of the three boys shows once again the daily threats Israel faces but the strength of our society will overcome the terrorists. Today the whole nation is united. The families are a symbol of the strength of the Israeli spirit, they are a source of inspiration - we will pray with them for the safe return of their sons, our boys. The fight against terror is a global one, it is the fight of all those who love life and wish to be free."
Soon after Thursday’s kidnapping, terrorist organizations praised the attack and urged Palestinians in Judea and Samaria to hamper the IDF’s efforts to locate the boys. Senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad officials have called for the kidnapping of more Israelis, with the insidious intention of trading them for convicted terrorists.
Sweets are handed out in Gaza to celebrate the kidnapping
Upon hearing of the abduction, Palestinians handed out candy in the streets and posted messages lauding the incident on social media sites. On Friday, Palestinians initiated a Facebook campaign expressing support for the terrorist kidnapping.
Caricature published on the official Fatah Facebook page,
depicting the three boys as mice ensnared by the bait