Government leaders are promising the nation that Operation Brother’s Keeper will not end until the killers of three innocent Israeli teens are tracked down and brought to justice.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon promised to track down the killers of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Frenkel, 16 and Gilad Sha’ar, 16 – and to punish Hamas for the crime.
“We view Hamas as being responsible for the murders,” Ya’alon told reporters Tuesday morning, “and we know how to settle accounts with them.” The defense minister made it clear that Operation Brother’s Keeper will continue until the boys’ killers were found.
“We will continue to hunt down the boys’ murderers and we will not rest nor remain silent until we get our hands on them,” he promised.
Ya’alon said in a message to the boys’ families that “the heavy sorrow which envelops you envelops the entire nation” but praised their strength during the two and a half week ordeal that preceded the discovery of their sons’ bodies. It was that, he said, that allowed the IDF, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the Israel Police “the strength to continue to search to its bitter end.”
The defense minister likewise praised the security forces who didn’t rest until they found the boys, noting their “impressive demonstration of cooperation and sense of mission.”
Yesh Atid chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid also vowed Tuesday morning that Operation Brother’s Keeper will continue until the terrorists who murdered the teens are caught — and he was similarly supportive of the families and the security forces.
Lapid said openly that it broke his heart when he heard the teens’ bodies were found Monday evening.
“I want to send a warm embrace to their families and promise them that we will continue to hunt down those responsible for this crime,” he said.
“Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay a heavy price,” he vowed – like Ya’alon, echoing the statement made Monday night by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at an emergency meeting of the security cabinet.
“We will continue to act with determination until we find these murderers. This is our responsibility, to act against anyone who tries to harm the safety of our children.”
Early Tuesday, IDF soldiers raided the homes of the two Hamas terrorists identified as the prime suspects in the kidnapping and murders of the boys – Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisha – both of whom remain at large and are ‘veterans’ of the Israeli prison system.
Both also have a history of praying together at the same mosque, and since they are residents of Hevron in the Beit Khalil region it has now been sealed off for an intensified search effort around the area.