Relatives of senior Hamas commander Raed al-Atar, one of three senior Hamas commanders killed in an Israeli military strike, mourn during his funeral in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, on August 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS
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A top Hamas official said members of his militant movement kidnapped three Israeli teenagers whose deaths provoked a spiral of violence that led to the war in Gaza, the first acknowledgement of the group's involvement.Hamas has up to now refused to confirm or deny Israeli accusations that it masterminded the abduction and killing of the three young men, one of them a joint U.S.-Israeli citizen, in Hebron.Israel accused Hamas, which is based in Gaza but has a presence in the West Bank, of masterminding the attack and began a crackdown on the group in which over a thousand Palestinians were arrested.
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