Leader of cell that kidnapped, murdered three Israeli teens indicted

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The leader of the terrorist cell that that kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenagers in June was indicted in a military court.

Hussam Kawasme of Hebron was arrested on July 11, in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach, and dual Israeli-American citizen Naftali Fraenkel, while attempting to flee to Jordan under a false identity with the help of his family.

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Kawasme reportedly admitted to serving as the leader of the cell that perpetrated the murders and said that funding for the attack, which he used to buy weapons, came from Hamas in Gaza.

According to the indictment, Kawasme used the money from Hamas in Gaza, procured through his brother Mohamad, who was freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange and deported to Gaza, to buy the car used in the kidnapping, as well as four firearms.

In his interrogation, 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.

Security forces are still searching for the two men — Kawasme’s brother, Marwan, and Omar Abu Aysha.

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.

Hussam Kawasme served six years in an Israeli prison for his involvement in Hamas terror attacks.