Security Services Reportedly Closing in on Kidnappers

YERUSHALAYIM -

An indictment was submitted on Thursday against the mastermind behind the kidnap and murder of Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frankel, Hy”d, as more details emerged about the circumstances of their abduction.

A month after the abduction, on July 11, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the police caught Hussam Hassan Kawasmeh, who owned the plot of land in which the murdered teens’ bodies were discovered.

The manhunt for Kawasmeh — whose extended family is notorious within the Hamas movement and its stronghold of Chevron — began as soon as the bodies were discovered. He was arrested in the Shuafat neighborhood of Yerushalayim, before he could make a planned escape to Jordan.

His accomplices, Marwan Kawasmeh and Amar Abu-Eishah, are both still on the run, but security officials say it is only a matter of time before they, too, are arrested. Others who have been implicated in the crime are already in police custody.

Kawasmeh had previously spent time in an Israeli prison for links to another terror cell which carried out several bombing attacks.

Under interrogation, Hussam revealed that he had been the mastermind of the “operation.” He secured a sum of 220,000 shekels from his Gaza-based brother and Hamas operative Mahmoud to finance the kidnapping.

The money was used, among other things, to purchase the car used in the abductions, which was later found burned out, near Hevron, together with spent bullet casings and traces of blood.

The money was also used to buy weapons — two pistols and two assault rifles — which were given to Marwan Kawasmeh prior to the attack. Hussam received those weapons from another Hamas terrorist in Chevron, Adnan Mohammed Azzat Zaro.

Also under interrogation, it was revealed that, immediately after the murders, Marwan went to Hussam, who helped him to take the bodies to a field the latter had purchased several months before the killings. After burying the bodies in a shallow grave, he then helped Marwan and Amar Abu-Eisha to find a place to hide.