Israeli soldiers arrested 41 more Palestinians in the West Bank early today, the army says, expanding the already massive search for three Jewish seminary students who disappeared last week and taking the total number of Palestinians detained to more than 200. Israel has blamed Hamas for the apparent abductions, without providing proof, and the search has become the biggest West Bank crackdown on the militant group in almost a decade.
The army also arrested several members of the Palestinian security forces from the Balata refugee camp near Nablus, their families said. Israeli forces continued to restrict the movement of Palestinians in the Hebron region, which has been the focus of the search. "As long as our boys remain abducted, Hamas will feel pursued, paralyzed, and threatened," an army spokesman says. Hamas has praised the kidnapping, but has not taken responsibility. In a statement, the group said the detentions of Hamas members "will not stop it and it will not change its path."