Israeli troops have raided the homes of two men suspected of abducting three Israeli teenagers whose bodies were found Monday nearly three weeks after they disappeared.
Television footage showed troops setting off explosions at the home of Amer Abu Aisheh early Tuesday in Hebron. Witnesses reported a similar operation Tuesday at the home of Marwan Qawasmeh.
Israel says the two men are members of the militant group Hamas, which has denied any involvement in the teenagers’ disappearance.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Hamas will pay a heavy price after the teens were killed by what he called “human animals.”
The bodies of the 19-year-old and two 16-year-olds were found near the village of Halhul, close to where they disappeared while hitchhiking home from school on June 12.
Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said the bodies were found in an open field under a pile of rocks.
“At 5 p.m. the IDF exposed in an open field not far from here a pile of rocks, and beneath the rocks we found, to begin with, two bodies, and then as we dug deeper we found a third body,” said Lerner.
Israel arrested hundreds of Hamas members during a widespread search for the missing teens.
In Washington, President Barack Obama condemned the killings and also urged restraint. In a statement Monday, he said all parties should refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation.
At the Vatican, Pope Francis called the killings “abominable” and said they are a grave obstacle to peace.
Since the teens’ disappearance, Israeli-Palestinian tensions have spiked. Netanyahu has demanded that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas give up a reconciliation deal with Hamas.