Hossam Hassan Kawasmeh (right) and the three slain teens

'We wanted to kidnap one, we got three so we killed them'

Kawasmeh, man suspected of funding and organizing kidnapping of Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frenekl, indicted by military court.

The terror cell that kidnapped and murdered the three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank in June intended to only kidnap one Israeli citizen, according to the indictment filed on Thursday against cell commander Hossam Hassan Kawasmeh.



According to the Shin Bet, Hossam Hassan Kawasmeh, who was arrested on July 11, organized the June 12 kidnapping and spent some NIS 220,000 ($61,300) on weapons and cars used in the crime.


Marwan Kawasmeh and Amar Abu-Eisha have yet to be caught. (Photo: AP)
Marwan Kawasmeh and Amar Abu-Eisha have yet to be caught.


According to the charge sheet seen by AFP, Kawasmeh was charged in a military court for "transferring enemy funds," carrying out services for an illegal organization (Hamas) and "deliberately causing the death" of the three Israelis.


The indictment noted that Kawasmeh had asked and obtained the money from his brother Mahmoud, "a Hamas operative who had been expelled to Gaza."


Kawasmeh did not tell Mahmoud he intended to use the money to kidnap an Israel citizen, the indictment said, and the brother started procuring the funds. Several months later, Mahmoud sent Hossam the money in four different envelopes through their mother, except for NIS 70,000 that has been transfered in a different manner, the indictment said.


The boys - Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gil-Ad Shaer - were shot almost immediately after their abduction, and their bodies were discovered on June 30 near to where they were snatched.


According to the indictment, one of the kidnappers, Marwan Kawasmeh, met with cell leader Hossam after the kidnapping and murder, telling him: "We wanted to kidnap one, we kidnapped three. We ran into trouble. We killed them."


The two then headed to pick up Amer Abu Eisha, the second kidnapper, who was waiting in Hebron. But because of the checkpoints the IDF put up that night, they change their minds and headed to Halhul, where the bodies have been dumped.


Hossam and Marwan loaded the bodies to the escape car, and took them to a land owned by Hossam, where they buried them.


Hossam then helped the two kidnappers hide. At first the two tried to hide in holes and caves in the Hebron area. Later, they contacted Hossam once again asking him to arrange for them a place to stay in a mosque.


Israel immediately blamed the deaths on Hamas, which despite initial denials recently took responsibility for the attack. The deaths triggered a massive IDF arrest campaign across the West Bank which preceded the 50-day Gaza conflict that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and 72 Israelis.


According to Palestinian news agency Ma'an, critics said that despite knowledge of the youth's deaths, the Israeli government withheld the information for weeks as it engaged in a massive arrest campaign across the West Bank that led to the detention of more than 700 individuals unrelated to the crime, while leaving nearly a dozen dead and more than hundred injured in raids and ensuing clashes.


Kawasmeh's two suspected accomplices, Marwan Kawasmeh and Amer Abu Eisha, are still at large.


The IDF army destroyed the homes of the latter two on July 1, a day after the teens' bodies were found, Palestinian witnesses said.



The army says the kidnapping was orchestrated by Kawasmeh, a senior Hamas militant who sent the other two, both of whom had a history of serving time in prison for their involvement in Hamas, to carry out the abduction.


After the bodies of the three teens were found on his lands, Hossam Kawasmeh was wanted for questioning over his involvement in the abduction and murder.


The three teens: Eyal Yifrach (left), Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel.
The three teens: Eyal Yifrach (left), Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel.


He planned to escape to Jordan using fake documentation with the aid of his family members in Hebron - Hisham Kawasmeh, 35, Jamil Kawasmeh, 38, and Hamas operative Hassan Kawasmeh, 45.


Kawasmeh was arrested on July 11 in his hiding place in the Shuafat refugee camp in a joint operation of the IDF and Shin Bet.


Hossam Kawasmeh, 40, served time in Israeli jail from 1995 to 2002 for his terror activity in Hamas. Among other things, Kawasmeh was a part of a cell that committed terror bombings. Some of his family members were also involved in major Hamas terror bombings. His brother, Hassin Kawasmeh, is serving a life sentence for his part in a bombing near the International Convention Center in Jerusalem in March 2011 that claimed the life of a British tourist and left dozens of others wounded.


In his investigation, Hossam implicated several other suspects that were later arrested and confessed to their involvement.


פרסום ראשון: 09.05.14, 09:38
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