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Israel arrests Palestinian politician in giant manhunt for kidnapped teenagers

More than 150 Palestinians have been arrested in the search for the three teenagers who were snatched from a settlement on Thursday night.

A student participates in a prayer for the two missing teenagers at a synagogue in the Jewish settlement of Kfar Etzion
A student participates in a prayer for the two missing teenagers at a synagogue in the Jewish settlement of Kfar Etzion
Image: AP/Press Association Images

ISRAELI TROOPS HAVE arrested Palestinian parliament speaker and Hamas member Aziz Dweik overnight during a wave of arrests linked to a massive manhunt for three kidnapped teenagers, the military confirmed this morning.

In a statement, the army said it had arrested more than 40 suspects in the West Bank, “including Hamas leadership and operatives”, with a military spokeswoman confirming to AFP that the speaker was among them.

The army says more than 150 Palestinians have been arrested in the search for the three youngsters who were snatched from the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the southern West Bank on Thursday night, with Israel pointing the finger at Hamas.

So far, there has been no formal claim of responsibility.

Amani Sarahna, spokeswoman for the Ramallah-based Palestinian Prisoners Club, told AFP 60 people were detained overnight but said the wave of arrests was “still ongoing” in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Mideast Israel Palestinians Israel soldiers patrol during the search for the three missing teenagers Source: AP/Press Association Images

“IDF efforts are focused on enabling operational capabilities, enhancing intelligence and influencing those that participated, are involved or have knowledge of the whereabouts of Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Ifrah,” said a statement from Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, the army’s official spokesman.

We are determined to bring them home and bring the perpetrators of their abduction to justice.

- © AFP, 2014

Read: Israel blames Hamas for teens’ kidnapping as massive search enters third day > 

Read: Israeli and Palestinian leaders agree to Pope’s attempt to revive peace talks > 

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