JERUSALEM (JTA) — The three kidnapped teens who were found murdered near Hebron will be buried side by side.
Separate funerals are set for Tuesday afternoon for Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrach in each of the teens’ home communities, after which they will be buried in the Modiin cemetery in central Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak at the burial.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon on Tuesday morning vowed to capture the kidnappers.
“We see Hamas as responsible for the kidnapping and the murder, and we will know how to settle the score with it,” Yaalon said in a statement. “We will continue to pursue the murderers of the teens and we shall not rest or be still until we lay hands on them. And so it will be.”
Yaalon said that throughout the 19-day search for the teens, the families “coped in a way that aroused admiration and displayed a fortitude in the face of the missing boys, affording the IDF, the Shin Bet and the Israel Police the strength to continue on with the search until its bitter end.”
The Shin Bet security service and the Israel Defense Forces on Thursday identified Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme, two West Bank Palestinians affiliated with the terrorist group Hamas, as the alleged kidnappers. The suspects, who live in Hebron, have been missing since the June 12 kidnapping.
The bodies of the teens were found Monday following a massive search operation.
That night, Israeli troops raided the homes of the two suspects. Part of Abu-Eisha’s home was demolished, reportedly out of fear that he was in the house and would open fire on the soldiers.
Also, three Palestinians were arrested in the search for the kidnappers. Security services reportedly fear that they have left the Hebron area and are hiding elsewhere.
The IDF also confirmed that Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian in Jenin after he threw a grenade at them as they searched the refugee camp.
Israel’s security Cabinet adjourned a meeting late Monday night on a response to the killings without making any decisions; the ministers disagreed on the strength of the response. The security Cabinet is set to reconvene following the funerals.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the news of the discovery of the dead teens “devastating.”
“We all had so much hope that this story would not end this way. As a father, there are no words to express such a horrific loss that shakes all people of conscience,” Kerry said in a statement. “We pray for these three boys and their families, and together we grieve with all the people of Israel. Knowing that Naftali was also an American citizen makes this an especially heavy blow not just to Israel, but to the United States.”
Kerry condemned “this despicable terrorist act,” saying the “killing of innocent youths is an outrage beyond any understanding or rationale, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice. This is a time for all to work towards that goal without destabilizing the situation.”