Senior Hamas leader Salah Arouri said in a news conference yesterday that Hamas was indeed responsible for the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens that sparked the current crisis in Gaza. While Hamas has praised the act before, no Hamas official has explicitly taken credit for it.

The Associated Press reports:

Salah Arouri told a conference in Turkey on Wednesday that Hamas carried out the kidnapping with the broader goal of sparking a new Palestinian uprising. "It was an operation by your brothers from the al-Qassam Brigades," he said, referring to Hamas' military wing.

Meanwhile, Hamas says that Israeli killed three of its senior commanders in an airstrike last night. Over 2,000 Palestinians and at least 67 Israelis have been killed in the conflict during the last six weeks.

[Image via AP]