Bodies of 3 missing Israeli teens found

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The bodies of three missing Israeli teenagers, including one U.S.-Israeli dual citizen, were found north of Hebron in the West Bank Monday, Israeli officials confirmed. 

Gilad Shaar, 16, Eyal Yifrach, 19, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, were found dead Monday after reports that a large contingent of Israeli security forces shut down entrances and exits to Hebron. Autopsies had not yet been conducted.

Fraenkel was a U.S. citizen born in Israel. His family has ties to Brooklyn, where his grandparents lived until they moved to Israel in the mid-1950s. 

News of the discovery spread just before the Israeli security cabinet held an emergency session late Monday night.

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The three teens disappeared near a bloc of Jewish settlements near Hebron on June 12 late at night. Reports have said they were hitchhiking home from school.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Monday that they have seen the reports but couldn’t confirm them independently.

Psaki reiterated that “the kidnapping, and of course any harm that has been done to these teenagers, is a tragedy.” The U.S., she said, continues to urge “continued security cooperation” between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed Hamas for the kidnappings, and two suspects have been named in the case: Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisha. Hamas has said those responsible acted alone. 

More than 240 Palestinians have been arrested in the West Bank in connection with the case over the last several weeks. Rockets were also launched into Israel from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip since their kidnapping, Israel Defense Forces said Monday.

Several U.S. lawmakers weighed in on the news. 

“The whole world should be sickened by the vicious murders of 3 Israeli teens. I condemn the PA,” tweeted Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), who’s Jewish.

“Three boys were butchered by Hamas for being Jewish. Obama should immediately renounce his support of the Hamas-partnered government,” Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) tweeted.

The Obama administration hasn’t explicitly said it supports or recognizes the new Palestinian government sworn in earlier this month, despite the fact that it's backed by Hamas. Secretary of State John Kerry has said the U.S. is willing to work with it for now, since its ministers are unaffiliated with a political party. Kerry has cautioned, however, that the U.S. could change that position if things change.

“Our worst fears have come true. May the memory of #EyalGiladNaftali be a blessing. Those responsible must be brought to justice,” tweeted Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who’s also Jewish.