Although Hamas has still not officially taken responsibility for the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers nearly a week ago, the Islamist group has repeatedly lauded their abduction, arranging public celebrations in Gaza, encouraging Palestinians in the Hevron region to disrupt the IDF’s search operation, and even lashing out at Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas for condemning the kidnapping.
And on Wednesday, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit released a video in which a top Hamas official hails the kidnapping of the three Israeli students as “heroic”.
Speaking during an interview on Hamas’s official Al Quds TV station, Muhammad Nazal – a member of the group’s “political wing” – hailed “the heroic capture operation”.
During the interview, which took place on Monday, Nazal claims the abduction “marked a milestone in the history of… the Palestinian struggle – a struggle that is filled with such heroic [sic] operations”, as it “hunted, all at once, three from among the settlers’ herd and Israeli soldiers”.
Israeli officials say they have solid intelligence that a Hamas cell operating in the Judea region south of Jerusalem was responsible for the teens’ disappearance, although it is possible the cell acted independently of the group’s central leadership in Gaza.