(JTA) — A senior Hamas official acknowledged that the Hamas military wing was behind the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June.
In a video posted by Israeli media, Hamas spokesman Salach Al-Aruri told a conference in Istanbul organized by the World Association of Muslim Scholars that it was the al-Kassam Brigades that guided the kidnapping of Israeli teenagers Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach. Al-Aruri praised the “heroic action of the Kassam Brigades who kidnapped three settlers in Hebron,” according to The Jerusalem Post.
Hamas’ leadership had formerly denied any involvement with the kidnappings. Previous reporting in American and Israeli media had suggested that Hamas was either not involved or that the kidnapping was carried out by a rogue group within Hamas.
Al-Aruri’s statement appears to validate the claim by Israeli officials who insisted that the Hamas organization in Gaza had ordered and financed the attack.