Avi Issacharoff reported Wednesday that Palestinian security forces identified the member of Hamas’ Gaza leadership who coordinated the kidnapping of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel. The three teens were killed soon after they were abducted in June.
Issacharoff further reported that “the terror organization’s military and political wings knew about the plans in advance”:
Abed a-Rahman Ghaminat, one of the heads of a cell in Zurif (a village not far from Bethlehem) and a former resident of the village, was the Hamas military wing’s appointed leader over the Hebron area. Ghaminat was released from an Israeli prison in October 2011, and was deported to the Gaza Strip.
Like many others who were freed and deported as part of the Shalit deal, Ghaminat joined a special office under the Hamas military wing in Gaza, which operated under the leadership of the Turkey-based Saleh al-Arouri, one of the heads of the organization living in Ankara. The office hired several of the exiled prisoners to oversee the terror cells in the West Bank. Working from Gaza, Ghaminat was responsible for the Hebron area, along with another ex-prisoner released under the Shalit deal, Ayed Dodin, a Hamas man and resident of Dura, south of Hebron.
Ghaminat and Dodin were under the command of Saleh al-Arouri, the Turkey-based Hamas operative in charge of West Bank activity. Mahmoud Kawasme, who was released in the Shalit deal alongside Ghaminat, recruited his brother Hussam, who was indicted last week, to run the operation.
Although al-Arouri has come to prominence as his role in the kidnappings emerged, he is not the only Hamas official taking advantage of Turkey’s hospitality. In Where the Shadiest Players Find a Home, published in the September 2014 issue of The Tower Magazine, Jonathan Schanzer named other members of the terrorist organization based in Turkey:
Arouri is not the only Hamas figure in Turkey. In 2011, Israel released 10 Hamas operatives to Turkey as part of the prisoner exchange deal with Hamas that secured the release of kidnapped Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit. Among the Hamas figures believed to have gone to Turkey include Mahmoud Attoun and Taysir Suleiman. Both were sentenced to life terms in Israeli prison for murder. Both men today appear on television and lecture about the merits of Hamas in Turkey and around the Arab world.
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