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Reports: Missing Israeli teens found dead in West Bank

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(CNN) -- The bodies of three Israeli teenagers who authorities said were kidnapped this month have been found in the West Bank, Israel's Channel Two and Channel Ten reported Monday, citing sources in the Israeli military.

The Israeli military said Monday that it found three bodies northwest of Hebron and that the bodies are "going through forensic identification." The military also said it has informed the families of the three missing teens about the discovery.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an emergency security Cabinet meeting about the issue Monday; an announcement from the Cabinet is expected shortly, according to the Israeli military.

The three teens -- Eyal Yifrach, 19; Gilad Shaar, 16; and Naftali Frenkel, a 16-year-old dual U.S.-Israeli citizen -- disappeared late June 12 or early June 13 from the Jewish settlement of Gush Etzion in the West Bank, the Israeli military has said.

Last week, the Israel Security Agency said it believed that two "Hamas activists from Hebron" were behind the teens' disappearances.

As Israeli media were reporting on the bodies' discovery Monday night, Israeli forces were blocking roads into Hebron, a city in the southern West Bank.

Israeli security forces conducted an extensive search for the teens. Within days after their disappearance, soldiers had detained more than 150 Palestinian suspects. The military said Hamas leaders and operatives were among the suspects.

Netanyahu similarly blamed Hamas for the kidnappings. A Hamas spokesman said in the days after the abductions that the Prime Minister's comments attributing blame were "stupid and baseless."

Also in the days after the abductions, the mother of one of the teenagers spoke to reporters.

The three "were just on their way home," said Naftali's mother, Racheli Frankel. "We trust" that they "will be with us here, and we'll hug them soon."

She thanked the security forces for their efforts and the U.S. Embassy for its support. "We feel waves and waves of prayers and support and positive energy in this direction."

 

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