(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis shares in the pain of the families of three Israeli teenagers whose bodies were found Monday just over two weeks after they were abducted in the West Bank. Emer McCarthy reports:
Speaking to journalists as news of the discovery made global
headlines, the director of the Vatican Press Office, Fr. Federico
Lombardi, described the murder of Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and
Naftali Fraenkel, 16 as “a tragic and unacceptable crime”.
: ''The murder of innocent people is always an execrable and
unacceptable crime and a serious obstacle on the path to that peace for
which we must continue to tirelessly work and pray. Violence calls more
violence and feeds the deadly circle of hatred”.
shares in the pain of the families affected by this murderous violence
and the pain of all those affected by the consequences of hatred, and
asks God to inspire in all thoughts of compassion and peace”.
three boys disappeared earlier this month as they hitch-hiked home.
Their bodies were found in the village of Halhul, and an Israeli
military operation is reportedly underway to seal off the area.
Monday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency
meeting of his Security Cabinet due to continue on Tuesday. Israel has
identified two well-known Hamas operatives from Hebron as the primary
suspects, though the militant Palestinian organization has denied
responsibility. It is not clear whether the kidnappers received orders
or acted on their own.
Early Tuesday, Israel carried out an
especially intense series of airstrikes in Gaza, saying it had struck 34
targets across the Hamas-controlled territory. There are no reports of
casualties so far.
The kidnapping episode has put Netanyahu in a
difficult position. With a public enraged over the deaths, the Israeli
leader has widespread support to strike Hamas. But after a two-week
crackdown on the West Bank he is also facing international calls for
Tensions had also been high
since the shooting deaths in May of two Palestinian teens during a
stone-throwing clash with Israeli security forces.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the kidnappings, and
his forces coordinated closely with Israel during the search for the
teens. But he has so far refused Israeli calls to terminate the unity
government, which ended a seven-year rift with Hamas. He says his new
Cabinet remains committed to his political program.
(From archive of Vatican Radio)
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