UPDATES 9 am Israel time, Wednesday, June 18 2014
Quote of the day:
“There is not enough evidence to confirm that the three boys were abducted.”
Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary General of the United Nations–when responding to a question about why the U.N. has been silent on the kidnapping of the Israeli teenagers.
It has now been some 130 hours since the three Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel, and Gil-Ad Shaer were kidnapped on Thursday, June 12. With each hour that passes, hope fades that they will be found alive.
Ironically, June 12, 1982 was the day that three other Israelis went missing at the battle of Sultan Yacoub and have never been found. Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz, and Zvi Feldman were last seen alive several days later while being paraded through Damascus on top of their captured tank. They have never been seen since.
Meanwhile Operation “Brother’s Keeper” continues to increase in intensity, focused in Hebron but spreading throughout Judea and Samaria to Jenin, Shechem (Nablus), and Ramallah. Another 80 Hamas terrorists were arrested overnight including 51 terrorists who had been released as part of the Gilad Shalit exchange in 2011.
One of the problems is that the search for the young men is exceedingly difficult. The Hebron area is a labyrinth of caves, caverns, cisterns, multi-storied houses, and tunnels.
All groups within the IDF are being utilized–including the Oketz Unit of the IDF special forces that work with “sniffer” dogs. The following is a photo of an Oketz unit in Hebron yesterday.
During the night, security forces have also shut down the virulently anti-Israel Radio Al-Aksa based in Ramallah and its transmitter station in Hebron. Three infantry brigades operated in Bet Awa, Tzufrir, and Kabatia.
And still, there is no word from the kidnappers, except for the fact that the military wing of Hamas has now taken to taunting Israeli authorities for being unable to find the teenagers. Here is a Hamas posting from yesterday:
And of course the Palestinian public has embraced the kidnappers of the teenaged students as heroes. Here is a blurry picture from a Palestinian media post yesterday:
The “three finger campaign” boasts that some of its most strident support comes from the parents of Palestinian children who have been treated for diseases and other medical conditions in Israeli hospitals: “The claim of Israelis that Palestinians should thank them day and night for providing medical care to children of Palestinians, is part of the arrogance and overbearing attitude characteristic of Jews.”
And so, the search goes on.
While the search is going on, your humble servant has not been reporting on other news in the region but will resume doing so tomorrow. Particularly egregious this morning is the report that Hezbollah is sending fighters to Baghdad to fight alongside Iranian Revolutionary Guards to stop the Sunni advance. And the United States is indicating that it may throw in its support as well.