The bodies of the three Israeli yeshivah bachurim kidnapped two weeks ago were found near the Palestinian village of Beit Khahila, near Chevron, on Monday afternoon, ending days of intense worldwide concern for their fate and Israel’s largest manhunt in recent years.
Klal Yisroel had united in prayer throughout these tense sixteen days throughout the Jewish world.
The announcement, confirmed at about 1:30 p.m. (EST) by the Israeli government, came shortly after the families of Eyal Yifrach (19), Hy”d, Yaakov Naftali Frankel (16), Hy”d, and Gilad Michael Shaar (16) Hy”d, were notified. The security cabinet scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss reaction.
The three bachurim, returning home from yeshivah late on the night of June 19, were abducted by senior Hamas terrorists Omer Abu Aisha and Marwan Kawasme, earlier named by the Israeli army as prime suspects. Both had previously been in and out of Israeli prisons for terror activities but were released. Yisroel Katzover, Hamodia’s military correspondent reported that the boys were believed to have been killed in the early stage of the kidnapping.
The families of the two terrorists were arrested on Monday morning, and the army engaged in gun battles with terrorist forces in the area.