Israeli media is reporting the arrest of Hussam Kawasme, the leader of a Hamas cell in the West Bank responsible for the kidnapping and murder last month of teenagers Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Fraenkel, and Gil-Ad Shaer.
According to The Jerusalem Post:
Hussam confessed not only that he gave the orders, but also that he collected weapons and raised funding for the attack by the Hamas cell, the state said.
In addition, Hussam assisted Marwan [Kawasme, his cousin who is still at large] in concealing the bodies by burying them on land he had bought in recent months.
As previously reported by The Tower, another Kawasme family member was a Hamas commander who was killed in a shootout with Israeli security personnel in 2003. The Times of Israel’s Avi Issacharoff reported that yet another member of the Kawasme family “was freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap and deported to Gaza. It’s thought that the order to carry out the kidnapping came from there.”
Those responsible work under the auspices of former Palestinian interior minister Fathi Hammad with another senior Hamas official in Ankara, Salah al-Arouri, who are responsible for planning dozens of attacks in the West Bank.
According to Palestinian security sources, there is little doubt that the group that carried out the kidnapping is linked to Hamas’s leadership abroad.
Eyal Yifrah, 19, and Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-Ad Shaar, both 16, were kidnapped on June 12th while hitchhiking in the West Bank.