In a meeting with the families of three abducted teens, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the assumption is that the boys are alive.

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Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon meets families of kidnapped boys. (Photo: Ariel Hermony/MOD)

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon met Wednesday with the parents of kidnapped boys Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Sha’ar. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the police and the military, who are in constant contact with the families.

During the meeting, Ya’alon updated the families on the investigation and briefed them on the details of the operation to trace the boys and capture the kidnappers, which has been in action since last Friday.

Ya’alon to Families: ‘Much Patience is Required’

Ya’alon told the families: “We are meeting so I can update you on the latest developments. I wish first of all to strengthen you. You convey strength and steadfastness. During events such as this, one of the most important elements is your strong stance, which is admirable. We are in the midst of an operation aimed at reaching the kidnappers and rescuing the boys. The campaign is constantly evolving, day and night, and many activities are taking place in the field, and as long as we have no other proof, our assumption is that the boys are alive. Until now no one has taken responsibility, and no demands have been presented.”

Nothing Restricts Operation to Rescue the Boys

“The objective of the actions we are taking is to reach the kidnappers and the boys as quickly as possible,” Ya’alon said. “We are focusing massive intelligence and operational efforts, including meticulous searches of the area. Ahead of us, first and foremost you and I, lay long and hard hours of stress, doubt and uncertainty. We do not know how long this will last, and much patience is required.”

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Parents of kidnapped teen Naftali Frankel speak to the press on Tuesday at their home. (Photo: Flash90)

Relating to the extent of the operation, Ya’alon said: “There is nothing that restricts the operation. All intelligence and operational capabilities of the IDF, the Shabak and Israel Police have priority in favor of this operation. We will not rest until we lay our hands on the kidnappers and recover the boys.”

Ya’alon stated that the operation has now taken on a broader scope: “We have taken several actions in parallel also intended to hurt Hamas in Judea and Samaria. Tonight we arrested Hamas members discharged in the Shalit deal, with the clear message that not only are we working to free the boys, but also when there is a kidnapping we will put back in prison those who we have previously released.”

Author: Aryeh Savir, Tazpit News Agency