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Israelis took part in a mass prayer at the Western Wall for the three abducted teenagers in June 2014 image www.crimefiles.net

Prayers for abducted murdered teenagers-Justice at last

Israeli troops have killed two Palestinians blamed for abducting and killing three Israeli youths in the occupied West Bank in June, the Israeli military says.

Marwan Kawasme and Amar Abu Aysha, militants in their 30s from the Hebron area, were blamed for grabbing and shooting dead the Israeli teenagers near a Jewish settlement on June 12, an incident that spiralled into a seven-week war in Gaza.

Israel had spent months searching for the two men, and said they were found in a house in Hebron today.

Hebron residents said troops surrounded the house before dawn, and reported sounds of gunfire.

The forces were seeking to arrest Kawasme and Abu Aysha, but the two wanted men were killed when a firefight erupted, Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said in a telephone briefing.

“We opened fire, they returned fire and they were killed in the exchange,” he said.

“We have visual confirmation for one. The second one, we have no visual confirmation, but the assumption is he was killed.”

Palestinian officials did not confirm the men were killed.

The two men were affiliated with the Hamas militant group which runs Gaza, and a group leader praised their deed in August, though other top officials denied any advance knowledge.

Israeli forces began West Bank sweeps and rounded up hundreds of suspected Hamas members after the three teenagers, Jewish seminary students Eyal Yifrach, 19, and 16-year-olds Gilad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel, went missing.

Their bodies were found in June near Hebron. After initially denying involvement in the killings, Hamas last month acknowledged responsibility.

The arrest of several hundred Palestinians in house-to-house raids across the West Bank stoked hostilities with Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip.

On July 8, Israel launched an offensive after a surge of Palestinian rockets being fired from Gaza at Israeli towns and cities.

Gaza medical officials say 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed. Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel were also killed.

Reuters

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