Israel names two Hamas Islamists it says are its main suspects in the disappearance of three teenagers in the West Bank. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Israel on Thursday (June 26) named two Hamas Islamists as leading suspects in the kidnappings on June 12 of three Israeli teenagers, providing the first sign of tangible progress after days of house-to-house raids in the occupied West Bank. An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed reports that troops were seeking Marwan Kawasme and Amar Abu Aysha, militants in their 30s from the Hebron area of the occupied West Bank, both of whom have served time in Israeli prisons in the past. Israel's Shin Bet Security Agency said in a statement both men had been wanted and at large since the kidnappings occurred, adding that several other Palestinians suspected of involvement in the abductions were also being questioned. Aysha had been jailed without trial under so-called administrative detention for six months in 2005, about the time his brother was killed by Israeli forces as he attempted to throw explosives at soldiers, Israeli security officials said. The other suspect, Kawasme, once served a 10 month prison term and trained for military action in the Hebron area, in addition to being involved with Hamas recruitment efforts there, the officials said. Netanyahu said the suspects were only part of the group behind the kidnappings and reiterated a call to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to abrogate a unity pact with Hamas, a group that calls for Israel's destruction. The identification of the suspects is the first tangible sign of progress Israel has made in its two-week search for the youths aged 16 and 19, who disappeared near a Jewish seminary at a West Bank settlement. Israel scaled back its searches for the youths on Tuesday after arresting several hundred Palestinians in house-to-house raids throughout the West Bank, that led Palestinians and some rights groups to accuse Israel of imposing collective punishment on civilians.