WEST NYACK - Three teens are the focus of a massive search in and around Israel's West Bank after they were allegedly captured by Palestinians.
Dozens of people came together at the Rockland Jewish Community Campus in West Nyack today to pray for their safety.
The teens disappeared last week, and Israel has blamed Hamas for their apparent abduction. One of the boys, 16-year-old Naftali Frenk, has dual Israeli/American citizenship with extended family in Monsey. Frenk's mother says the boys were grabbed on the way home from school.
The Israeli army has re-arrested 51 former Palestinian prisoners as part of a furious search for the boys. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said on Wednesday that the 51 were among more than 65 Palestinians detained overnight in the search for the teens. The 51 were part of a group of 1,027 Palestinians released in 2011 from Israeli prisons in exchange for an Israeli soldier captured by Gaza militants in a cross-border raid in 2006. Lerner says that since the disappearance, a total of 240 Palestinians have been arrested in the West Bank.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says his forces are also searching and criticized their abductors. Abbas told Muslim and Arab leaders gathered in Saudi Arabia that those who abducted the three "want to destroy us." He did not elaborate, but appeared to be referring to his government. Abbas says that once the kidnappers are found, his government will "settle accounts with them."
The boys' families have started the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurBoys in an effort to raise awareness and to ensure their safe return home.
Another prayer service will be held at the Rockland Jewish Community campus in West Nyack Thursday at noon. A rally for their safe return is being held Thursday night at Provident Bank Park in Pomona.
AP wires were used in this report