IDF demolishes homes of men suspected of kidnapping, killing Israeli teens

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The homes of two of the men who are said to have planned and carried out the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens were demolished and a third sealed off.

The homes of Hussam Kawasme, who was arrested last month and admitted to planning the attack, and Amer Abu Aysha, accused of carrying out the kidnapping and murder, were demolished late on Sunday night, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. The Hebron home of Marwan Kawasme, Hussam’s brother who was freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, was sealed off. It is also set to be demolished.

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Hussam Kawasme of Hebron was apprehended last month while attempting to flee to Jordan under a false identity with the help of his family. He reportedly admitted to serving as the leader of the cell that perpetrated the murders of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrach.  He said that funding for the attack, which he used to buy weapons, came from Hamas in Gaza.

In his interrogation, Hussam Kawasme said he helped bury the bodies on a plot of land he had purchased two months prior to the murders. He then helped the two men who drove the car and shot the teens hide.

The implementation of the demolition order, which was issued by the IDF in mid-June, was carried out in accordance with directives given by the Commander of the Central Command, Major General Nitzan Alon, following three appeals to Israel’s High Court of Justice. The court affirmed the IDF position regarding the intention to demolish the houses.

“We are determined in bringing the ruthless murderers of Gilad, Eyal and Naftali to justice. The demolition of the terrorists’ homes conveys a clear message to terrorists and their accomplices that there is a personal price to pay when engaging in terror and carrying out attacks against Israelis,” IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement.

The bodies of the three teens were discovered following a massive search on June 30 in a shallow grave in a field near Hebron, 18 days after they were kidnapped and murdered.