Israeli soldiers have killed a Palestinian boy in their hunt for three missing teenagers. Overnight, security forces pushed ahead with large-scale raids of Palestinian towns and cities.
On Friday, officials said that 15-year-old Mohammed Dodeen, the second Palestinian killed since the search operation began, died of a gunshot wound to the chest overnight during a raid in Dura, south of the West Bank city of Hebron.
Israel has accused the Palestinian political faction Hamas of abducting three teenagers, though the government has offered no proof to support its accusation, and no group has claimed responsibility for the disappearances.
On Friday, a spokeswoman told the news agency AFP that the Israeli army would examine the reports of Dodeen's death.
'Gates of hell'
Israeli soldiers took more than 30 Palestinians into custody overnight, bringing the total of West Bank arrests since the operation, "Brother's Keeper," began to 280 - about 200 of those members of Hamas, according to the military.
Jets also bombed targets in the Gaza Strip before dawn on Friday, a response, according to the Israeli military, to rockets launched by Palestinians the previous day.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri has called the crackdown "very serious" and said it "widely opens the gates of hell on the Israeli occupation." The Palestinian human rights center Ahrar has reported widespread property damage in the searching of about 12,000 homes so far by Israeli troops.
The three teenagers who dissappeared have been identified as Gil-Ad Shaer and US-Israeli national Naftali Fraenkel, both aged 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19. The trio went missing on June 12 from a common hitchhike stop near a settlement block south of Jerusalem.
"We're doing everything in our power to bring back our three kidnapped teenagers," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said.
The abduction came weeks after the Islamist-backed Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and the secular Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which rules the West Bank, formed a unity government. The two factions had hoped to end a seven-year feud and close the metaphorical gap between the separate and occupied Palestinian territories.
mkg/hc (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)