Alleged leader of cell that killed three Israeli teens indicted

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli military court indicted the alleged leader of the terrorist cell that kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenagers in June.

Hussam Kawasme of Hebron 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 handed down Thursday, Kawasme used the money from Hamas to buy the car used in the kidnapping, as well as four firearms. The money was procured through his brother Mohamad, the indictment said. Mohamad Kawasme had been deported to Gaza after being freed from an Israeli prison in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.

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.

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

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

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

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

 

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