(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) As the search operation for the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers entered its fourth day on Monday, Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon hinted that the operation could fail.
Speaking to reporters this evening, Ya'alon called on the Israelis to be patient because "the operation is complex and will take time to reach the desired objectives." Echoing press remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier today, he accused Hamas of being behind the abduction and held the Palestinian National Authority responsible for the safety of the three teens.
"This abduction will not pass without Hamas leaders paying a big price," he warned, referring to the last night air attack on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
The minister affirmed that the military and police forces are doing their utmost to bring back the abducted teens while pressing to release them.
Ya'aloon made the comments after an inner cabinet meeting, chaired by Netanyahu, at the Ministry of Defense headquarters in Tel Aviv.
The Israeli military and police forces launched a large joint search operation in the occupied West Bank and arrested about 200 supporters of Hamas over the last two days.
Israeli officials said they mull the possibility of extraditing Hamas leaders from the West Bank to Gaza.
The three students of Yeshiva - a Jewish religious institute - Eyal Yifrach - 19, Gil'ad Shaar - 16 and Naftali Frenkel - 16, all from the Jewish settlement of Kfar Etzion between the occupied city of Jerusalem and Al-Khalil (Hebron), have been missing since Thursday/Friday night.