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(CNN) – Three Israeli teens, including one who had dual citizenship in the U.S., were found and confirmed dead Monday by Israeli officials. The teens had vanished more than two weeks ago from a settlement in the contested West Bank, according to the Israeli military.
Their bodies were discovered in a field north of the town of Hebron.
Almost immediately after reports of the bodies being found trickled out, CNN journalists spotted Israeli fighter jets buzzing over the rooftops in Gaza.
Weeks of night raids and security sweeps had turned up nothing. Israeli forces scoured some Palestinian towns for the first time in a decade, and arrested more than 400 Palestinians. Five died in the clashes between Israeli Defense Forces and members of Hamas, the current partner of the Palestinian coalition government.
Hamas – considered a terrorist group by both Israel and the United States – applauded, but did not take credit for the kidnapping.
"The head of Hamas celebrated the kidnapping today and called for more kidnappings. We know that members of Hamas in the Hebron area, they're the ones responsible," said Israel's ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the unity government, condemnation of the kidnappings was not enough for Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an emergency meeting with his cabinet, stoking fears that Israel could soon go to war with its neighbor.
"The prime minister was clear Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay a very heavy price," Dermer said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."
Hamas says Netanyahu's threats do not scare them.
"If he wages war on the Gaza Strip, the gates of hell will be opened," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Monday.
Any attack on Hamas will likely put innocent Palestinians at risk, though Dermer said Israel will do everything it can to keep civilians out of harm's way.
At the end of the day, the Israel government "will make the decisions they have to make in order to send a very strong message to Hamas that this action is unacceptable, and to take the action that they deem necessary in order to protect and defend our population," said Dermer.
Click here for more of our interview with Israel's ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, or watch the video below.