TEL AVIV, Israel, June 16 (UPI) -- Israeli soldiers have detained more than 150 Palestinian suspects in connection with the abduction of three Israeli teenagers, the military said Sunday.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces, told CNN that the roundup of suspects is intended to intimidate those responsible into releasing the young men. "Hamas are behind that, and we are doing everything we can to shake them up as soon as possible in order to bring the boys home."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also blamed Hamas for the kidnapping, and argued that the recent unity government forged by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas "is bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinians and bad for the region."
The Palestinian Ministry of Information dismissed the mass arrest of 150 Palestinians as "flimsy pretexts" for Israeli "continuation of the aggression" toward Palestinians. Hamas also reacted strongly to being blamed for the abductions, calling such allegations "stupid and baseless."
The three teens, identified by IDF as Gilad Shaar, 16; Naftali Frenkel, 16; and Eyal Yifrach, 19, disappeared late Thursday or Friday.
A social media campaign using the hashtag #BringBackOurBoys was launched in response to the abductions, inspired by the #BringBackOurGirls campaign created after the Boko Haram abduction of 200 Nigerian school girls. The #BringBackOurBoys campaign, however, brought criticism from pro-Palestinians who countered online that many Palestinian youth have also been kidnapped by Israeli soldiers.