A Palestinian man has been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping two Israeli teenagers, the army said Tuesday, as the Palestinian Authority called on Israelis to help fight the wave of kidnappings.
The Israeli military said in a statement that the 17-year-old man was arrested in the northern town of Nablus.
“The investigation into this kidnapping has been completed,” it said.
“We are waiting for the results of the investigation.”
The teenaged men were abducted Sunday by a masked Palestinian, identified by the military as Muhammad al-Hajj.
The Palestinian Authority condemned the abduction as a “criminal act” that endangered lives.
The teen’s family said he was shot dead after the Palestinian men ran away.
The PA is also seeking a court order to allow it to search the home of al-Shadi al-Akhmad, the suspected kidnapper, in the West Bank village of Dura.
Al-Aghmad, a member of Hamas, is considered one of the most dangerous kidnappers in the world.
A week ago, a Palestinian man was found shot dead near Tel Aviv, near a military checkpoint, and the head of the Shin Bet security agency said the killing could be linked to al-Ahmad’s kidnapping.
The Shin Bet said that the Palestinian man had been arrested for questioning on Tuesday.
The kidnapping of the two Israelis was “a new chapter” in a wave of abductions and killings that began in January, the Israeli military and the Palestinian leadership said.
The two Israelis, both Israeli citizens, were in their teens when they were kidnapped.
The IDF has arrested four other Palestinians since January.
The abduction of the teens took place at a time when Israel is facing increasing tension with Hamas.
The Hamas movement has accused Israel of orchestrating the kidnapping and of using its security forces to cover up the kidnapping.
Hamas has said it will continue to carry out such attacks until Israel withdraws all its troops from Gaza.
On Monday, Israel said it was sending its soldiers to the Gaza Strip to help prevent the kidnapping of more Israeli civilians.
“This will not be an isolated incident, and we will continue our fight against terrorism, the occupation and the occupation’s occupation,” Netanyahu said, using an Arabic acronym for Israel’s occupation.
“And the only way to stop it is through an effective military operation,” he added.
The defense ministry said it had deployed more than 6,000 soldiers to Gaza, which has been under the control of the Islamist group since 2014.
In the West, Palestinians said, the wave had started when an Israeli woman was kidnapped in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa on Monday and the bodies of two Palestinian men were found on Tuesday near the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Hebron.
“They didn’t do it for money.
They did it for the revenge of the killing of the Israeli soldier, and they were executed in the streets,” said Mohammed al-Salameh, a shopkeeper in Har Homas.
In Jerusalem, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in the United States, Mark Toner, said Washington was “deeply concerned” by the abductions, which have led to protests and demonstrations across the Middle East.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims of this heinous crime,” Toner said in an emailed statement.
He said that Israel has increased security at embassies and consulates and is sending additional staff to the region.
Israel has imposed a two-week freeze on its border with Gaza, while the Palestinian side has imposed restrictions on the movement of goods and people.
Israel says the Gaza border has been closed since November because of the crisis and that Israel needs to restore the situation to normalcy.
The latest abduction came days after Israeli police said they arrested two Palestinians on suspicion they were involved in a stabbing at an Israeli bus station in the central West Bank, the third stabbing attack in the region in two weeks.