The mourning citizens of Israel have vowed that Hamas terrorists will pay for abducting and killing three Israeli teenagers earlier this year.
The bodies of Gilad Shaar and U.S.-Israeli national Naftali Frenkel, both 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19, were found in a field west of Hahul, near Hebron. The three, who had apparently been shot soon after being abducted on June 12, were wrapped in blue and white Israeli flags and buried side by side in the city of Modiin, reports JNS.com.
The Israeli Defense Ministry announced that two Hamas terrorists-Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme-are guilty of the horrendous "act of terror."
Operation Brother's Keeper, Israel's response to the kidnapping, is currently underway as the suspects are still at large. Defense officials believe the suspects are still in Judea and Samaria, but have gone "completely off the radar." The Israeli Shin Bet security agency said it was continuing its "intelligence and operational efforts to find all those involved in the attack."
"The mission isn't over," said the IDF's Gantz. "We are halfway there. The intelligence and operation effort put into finding the kidnapped boys will be redirected toward finding the kidnappers. The IDF will work on every level to capture them in the shortest possible time."
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the nation "weeps" for the boys who were "victims" of a hate crime.
"On behalf of the entire Jewish people, I would like to tell the dear families-the mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, and brothers and sisters-we are deeply saddened," said Netanyahu. "The entire nation weeps with you."
"Hamas is responsible-and Hamas will pay," he added.
However, Israeli officials don't want the punishment to end with the terrorist group: many citizens are calling for harsh penalties for the murderer's families as well.
"[The Israeli Cabinet] needs to punish the killers' families in the harshest possible way, so nothing like this happens again," said Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan.
"We need to deport the murderers' families, raze their homes, and prevent them from rebuilding," he continued.
The abductions outraged the international community as well, as vigils and rallies were held around the world to commemorate the boys.
Large gatherings were also held in Tel Aviv's central Rabin Square, and at the West Bank junction where the youths were abducted, with Israelis singing hymns and songs, praying and lighting candles shaped in the names of the youths or the Jewish Star of David, Fox News reports.
While the Jewish nation is devastated by the loss, they remain hopeful that justice will soon be served.
"There is no human explanation or justification for the kidnapping and murder of the boys," said Israeli Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog (Labor).
"I'm convinced that the long arm of the [Israeli] security forces will reach the killers," he continued. "We have known horrible, painful terror attacks and overcome them, and that's how it will be this time. That's life in this country."