Deputy defense minister Danny "Genocide is Cool" Danon.
Alakhbar - Israel on Monday confirmed finding the bodies of three settlers who disappeared in the occupied southern West Bank on June 12, blaming Hamas for their kidnapping and murder despite showing any evidence that the Islamist movement was behind it.

"During the search for Eyal Ifrach, Gilad Shaer and Naftali Frankel, the IDF discovered 3 bodies near Hebron," the Israeli army said in a statement on Twitter.

It was not immediately clear how they died.

Deputy defense minister Danny Danon also confirmed their bodies had been discovered, saying they had been murdered by "Hamas terrorists" and calling for a widespread operation to "eradicate" the Islamist movement.

Public radio said the bodies were discovered in a field near Halhul, a town north of Hebron, about 10 minutes from the roadside in the southern West Bank where they were last seen.

The Ynet news website said the bodies were found by soldiers and civilian volunteers.

Shortly before the news was made public, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin called an urgent meeting of his security cabinet from 9:30 pm (1830 GMT) with ministers expected to take "operative" decisions, public radio said.

Earlier in the evening, Israeli troops could be seen carrying out widespread searches in the Halhul area which is some five kilometers (three miles) north of Hebron, an AFP correspondent said.

"We will not stop until Hamas is completely defeated," Danon said.

"The homes of the terrorists must be demolished and their arms caches destroyed.

"Our mission will not be complete until all the terror organizations are deterred from attacking Israelis and understand once and for all that the people of Israel will not be threatened," he said.

Israeli occupation forces have killed five Palestinians in the West Bank since the settlers went missing. Another two elderly Palestinians died of heart attacks during raids on their homes.

Hundreds of others, mostly youths, had been rounded up and jailed since the search began without any evidence of involvement in the disappearance of the three from an illegal settlement.

Source: AFP, Al-Akhbar