After two months of denials, Hamas claimed responsibility on Wednesday for the June 12 kidnappings of three Israeli teens, which sparked the current hostilities between Israel and Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces said. A Hamas leader called the kidnappings "a heroic deed."
Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed terrorists were responsible for the boys' disappearance. At the time, Hamas denied involvement in the kidnappings.
In a speech posted to YouTube, Hamas leader Salach Aruri claims the group's military arm was responsible for the kidnappings of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel. The boys' dead bodies were found on June 30.
“The struggle of the masses of our people has expanded to include all the territories that have been occupied, and the highlight of it was the heroic deed, that was carried out by Al-Qassam Brigades – the kidnappings of three settlers in Hebron," Aruri says in the video, in which he also references the three boys by their names. Watch the clip below:
The Israel Defense Forces also posted the video on Twitter:
WATCH: Hamas has taken responsability for the kidnapping of the 3 teenagers Eyal, Gilad and Naftali http://t.co/Qdlo5KeHol
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 20, 2014