Missing Israeli teenagers Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach
Missing Israeli teenagers Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach. IDF

Israel's security officials have confirmed they found the bodies of three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped in the West Bank earlier this month.

The Israeli military discovered the corpses of 16-year-olds Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and 19-year-old Eyal Yifrach near the village of Halhul, north of Hebron, not far from where they disappeared on 12 June.

The three bodies were found around 6 pm in a shallow grave dug by their abductors in the wadi between Beit Khalil and Halhul. According to Ynetnews.com, the boys were shot shortly after their kidnapping.

It is believed the kidnappers planned to kill the abductees and keep the bodies until they could be exchanged for imprisoned Palestinians.

Israeli officials said the families of the three victims have been notified.

The Israeli government have called an emergency security cabinet meeting at 9.30 pm local time.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to make a statement shortly afterwards.

A large number of Israeli troops have been deployed in the Hebron area and reportedly set up roadblocks around the city blocking access to it.

Clashes with Palestinian protesters erupted in Halhul, and IDF troops adopted crowd dispersal measures.

Israel has accused Hamas of abducting the teens, who disappeared while hitchhiking at night from the Jewish settlement of Gush Etzion.

Israel launched a wide-range operation in the West Bank to find them. More than 400 people, most said to be members of Hamas, were arrested and more than 1,300 sites were searched.

The massive manhunt exacerbated tension in the region and six Palestinians have been so far killed in clashes with Israeli forces.

Israel's internal security agency Shin Bet named Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisha as suspects last week, saying the two were associated with Hamas and had served time in an Israeli prison for "terrorist activity".

The two were from the Hebron area.

"The two principal terrorist suspects in the kidnapping are Marwan Kawasmeh and Amer Abu Eisheh, members of Hamas in Hebron, who are wanted" by Israeli authorities, said a Shin Bet statement.