By Aryeh Savir
Tazpit News Agency
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, met today (Jun 18) with the families of the kidnapped boys Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Sha’ar. The meeting was attended by the parents of the boys and representatives of the police and the military who are in constant contact with the families.
During the meeting, Defense Minister Ya’alon updated the families on the investigation and briefed them on the details of the operation to trace the three boys and capture the kidnappers, which has been in action since last Friday.
During the meeting, 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.”
“The objective of the actions we are taking is to reach the kidnappers and the boys as quickly as possible. 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.”
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 Schalit 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,” stated Minister Ya’alon.