Israel convicts planner of three teens' kidnapping

Published December 31st, 2014 - 07:30 GMT

The IDF military court on Wednesday convicted Hussam Hassan Kawasme of being the mastermind behind the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in June.

Kawasme was convicted based on his own confession of planning and financing the attack.

The Ofer Military Court indicted Kawasame in September.

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) arrested him on July 11, on suspicion of assisting the killers and of hiding the victims’ bodies in land he owned in Hebron, security forces said.

On June 12, Hamas members kidnapped Gil-Ad Sha’er, 16, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, as they waited for a ride outside the Alon Shvut settlement in Judea. The Shin Bet named the two chief suspects as Marwan Kawasme and Amar Abu Aisha.

The two chief suspects were killed in a shootout with the IDF near Hebron in September.

Hussam Kawasme, a resident of Hebron, was in Israeli prison from 1995 to 2002 after being convicted of involvement in Hamas terrorist offenses, including being part of a cell that carried out bomb attacks.

“He is the son of a family whose sons have been involved in severe terrorist attacks on behalf of Hamas,” the domestic intelligence agency said.

Hussam’s brother Hassin Kawasme is serving a life sentence for his role in a bomb attack on a bus stop across from the Jerusalem International Convention Center in March 2011. Scottish tourist Mary Jane Gardner, 59, was killed in the attack and 39 people were wounded.

Another brother, Mahmoud Kawasme, served a 20-year prison sentence for his role in a twin suicide bombing attack aboard buses in Beersheba in August 2004, which killed 16 residents of the city and wounded more than 100 people. Mahmoud Kawasme was released as part of the Schalit exchange with Hamas and expelled to the Gaza Strip.

From Gaza, Mahmoud Kawasme transferred funds to his brother in Hebron for the attack on the three teenagers.

“During questioning by the Shin Bet, and during the questioning of others, it emerged that Hussam Kawasme served as a command level for the kidnapping,“ the Shin Bet said.

By Yonah Jeremy Bob


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