Ramallah, June 15 IANS | 5 months ago

Palestine termed the arrests of 80 Palestinians from the West Bank Sunday by Israel over the kidnapping of the three teenagers, who have been missing since Thursday evening, as a violation of international laws.

According to the officials, the 80 Palestinians, included top Hamas and Legislative Council members, were arrested in and around Hebron and across the West Bank in a joint military, police and Shin Bet operation, Xinhua reported.

"The arrest campaign is unjustified and an act of collective punishment," the Palestinian official said.

The three teenagers were last seen in the area of Gush Etzion, a bloc of Jewish settlements located between Jerusalem and the predominantly Palestinian city of Hebron as they were heading back home from their evening lessons.

The teenagers have been identified as Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar, both 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday said the three were kidnapped by a terrorist organisation and holds the Palestinian Authority responsible for the teenagers' wellbeing.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zohri urged the international community to intervene to stop what he claimed "Israel's crimes" against the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military imposed closures on Palestinian cities in the West Bank, centred on the city of Hebron and its neighbours beginning at midnight on Sunday, and a closure of Bethlehem went into effect hours later.

The on-going search operation involves more than 2,000 military forces.

The disappearance of the three teenagers is being seen as the biggest strain on relations between the two sides since a Palestinian unity government was announced in April.

(Posted on 15-06-2014)

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