Israel marks anniversary of triple teen murders

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel on Wednesday marked the first anniversary of the murder by Palestinians of three Israeli teenagers, which triggered events that led to war in the Gaza Strip.

President Reuven Rivlin awarded prizes for community work and social activism and Jewish community projects, sponsored by the parents of the three who were kidnapped in the occupied West Bank last year.

"There are many rifts and tears which need repair, many pains and insults, old and new, but we saw this people at its best, and we know what we are capable of," Rachel Frenkel, mother of one of the boys, said at a ceremony at Rivlin's official residence.

"Jews from around the world came together to support their families by searching, praying, and just reaching out," Israeli news site Ynet quoted a statement from the families as saying last week.

Although Naftali Frenkel, Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaer were abducted on June 12 by the Gregorian calendar, Wednesday marked one year by Jewish - lunar - reckoning.

A Palestinian was sentenced by a military court to three life terms for the murders, and two alleged accomplices were killed in a shootout with Israeli soldiers.

The kidnapping sparked a massive manhunt in which hundreds of Palestinians were arrested and at least five killed.

The operation triggered a surge in rocket fire from Gaza that ultimately led to the July-August war which left about 2,200 Palestinians dead, most of them civilians, and 73 in Israel, mostly soldiers.

The triple killing also led to the grisly revenge killing of 16-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khder, who was snatched in east Jerusalem and burned alive last July.

The Jewish suspects in the killing are currently on trial in Jerusalem.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.