Shin Bet: Kidnappings Averted as Chevron-Area Hamas Gang Busted

YERUSHALAYIM -

A Hamas gang that intended to carry out shooting attacks in the Chevron area hoped to take Israelis captive and either kill them or use them as bargaining chips for terrorists held by Israel. The gang was headed by none other than Amad Kawasme, brother of Mahmad Kawasme, the evil mastermind behind the kidnapping and murder of Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrach, Hy”d, in June 2014.

Shin Bet security officials announced Sunday that they busted the gang in November, before the group had an opportunity to carry out an attack. Kawasme had organized a large operation which he planned to use to murder Jews who were driving on Road 35, which leads into Chevron from the west. Kawasme apparently thought that it would be easier to carry out attacks there, because he believed Israeli forces were paying more attention to the north-south Road 60 that passes by Chevron, which has been the scene of numerous stabbing and shooting attacks.

In their investigation, Shin Bet security officials said that they had arrested six members of the gang, three of them residents of Yerushalayim and three living in the Chevron area. According to the investigators, the gang was “very close” to carrying out an attack, and had even prepared a location to hold the prisoners and/or bodies they would use to make a deal.

Holding prisoners, in the hope of using them to demand the release of Hamas terrorists in Israeli prisons, was rumored to be the original purpose of the kidnapping of the three teens. In that tragic case, Israeli investigators determined that somehow the plot went bad, and the terrorists murdered the three almost as soon as they were kidnapped, hiding their bodies on property they owned.

The kidnapping and murder of the teens, along with the incessant rocket attacks on southern Israel by Hamas terrorists, were among the main reasons the army launched Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

B’chasdei Hashem, this is the second time in recent days that security forces have announced that they nipped a major Hamas operation in the bud. Last Thursday security forces announced that they had busted a different Hamas terror gang that had also been planning to kidnap Israelis and hold them as ransom to demand the release of terrorists.