Three teenage boys kidnapped in the West Bank

By Allison Rubenstein,

Three 16-year-old boys are missing in the West Bank, one of which is a United States citizen.

An extremist Salafist organization has claimed responsibility for abducting the teens, according to The Jerusalem Post. No official confirmation has been made.

The teenagers were last heard from Thursday night as they headed to a hitchhiking station south of Jerusalem, as reported by CNN.

The Israeli military is currently conducting extensive searches through the West Bank, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working with top defense chiefs in an effort to find the teens, according to the Associated Press.

The Israeli Defense Force and the Shin Bet security agency of Israel are in communication with security officials in the Palestinian government.

The Shin Bet has thwarted over sixty attempted kidnappings in the West Bank since 2013, according to The New York Times. The Palestinian military seeks Israeli hostages in order to offer a trade for Palestinians being held as prisoners in Israeli jails.

Netanyahu released a statement assuring the teens’ families that Israel will do its best to bring their loved ones home. He also declared that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for the teens’ safety.

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