The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has arrested 37 more Palestinians in the West Bank following an overnight crackdown in search for three missing teens.
In response to the disappearance of three Israeli teens, the IDF conducted an overnight operation which resulted in the arrest of 37 people, bringing the total number of detained Palestinians to 361 since 12 June, when the teens went missing.
Israel claims that Hamas, an Islamist organisation which controls the Gaza Strip, is responsible for the disappearance of the three Israeli students: Gil-Ad Shaer (age 16), Naftali Fraenkel (age 16), and Eyal Yifrah (age 19).
“As part of on-going operations, (Israeli) forces detained 37 suspects and searched 80 locations,” an Israeli military spokeswoman said in a statement describing the IDF’s efforts to find the missing teens.
Hamas has yet to confirm or deny their participation in the alleged kidnappings.
The events come in the wake of a unity government which recently formed between Fatah and Hamas in order to tackle issues of governance and foster cooperation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Despite recent efforts to bring Hamas into the political process, the organisation is still considered a terrorist group by the US and EU.
Since the disappearance of the teens, Israel has conducted raids and kidnappings of Palestinians while implementing harsher checkpoint measures to deter movement from the West Bank to Israel.
Four Palestinians have been killed by IDF forces since the operations commenced, including Mohammed Dodeen (age 15), according to hospital officials in the West Bank.