Tensions have mounted between Israel and the Palestine after the funeral of the three Israeli teens who were found dead in the West Bank more than two weeks after they went missing. Hundreds of Palestinians hurled stones at Israeli police, who responded with tear gas, in clashes that erupted following reports that an Arab teen was kidnapped in retaliation and that a body had been found in a Jerusalem forest.
Israel's prime minister has threatened to take even tougher action against Hamas following an intense wave of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, as the country buried three Israeli teens it says were kidnapped and killed by the Islamic militant group.
Benjamin Netanyahu said his first goal is to find the killers of the three teens. "We will not rest until we reach the last of them," he said.
The three teenagers — Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship — disappeared on the night of 12 June as they were hitchhiking home from Jewish seminaries they attended in the West Bank.
The abductions sparked Israel's broadest ground operation in the West Bank in nearly a decade, with the military deploying thousands of troops in a frantic search for the youths. Accusing Hamas of being behind the abductions, it also launched a massive crackdown against the group's West Bank infrastructure.
The manhunt came to a grim end on Monday when searchers discovered the teens' bodies under a pile of rocks in a field near the city of Hebron, a few miles from where they disappeared.
The plight of the teens captured the nation's attention, and the discovery of their bodies prompted an outpouring of grief. An estimated 50,000 mourners attended Tuesday's funeral in the central Israeli city of Modiin, arriving in hundreds of buses organised for the occasion.
"This day has spontaneously turned into a national day of mourning," Netanyahu said in his eulogy as the three bodies, wrapped in blue-and-white Israeli flags and laid out on stretchers were laid to rest side-by-side.
Earlier, hundreds of people had headed to the teens' hometowns for separate memorial services.
"Rest in peace my child," said Fraenkel's mother, Rachelle, who became a well-known figure during the ordeal as she sought to draw attention to the teens' plight. "We will learn to sing without you. We will always hear your voice inside of us."
Israel has identified two Hamas operatives as the chief suspects in the kidnappings. But it has offered little public evidence against the men, who remain on the loose. It also is unclear whether the suspects acted alone or at the instruction of Hamas leaders. Hamas has praised the kidnappings, but not said whether it ordered the mission.
Hamas has long encouraged its members to kidnap Israelis, believing hostages could be used to win the release of thousands of Palestinian militants held in Israeli prisons. Israeli security officials are not sure whether the kidnappers set out to kill the teens, or did so in a bout of panic after one of them called police.
The crackdown in the West Bank has been accompanied by a spike in violence in Gaza. Israel unleashed a wave of airstrikes on Hamas targets in response to repeated rocket fire.
Palestinian militants have fired more rockets into Israel. The barrage, which caused no injuries, raised the likelihood of new Israeli reprisals.