Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal admitted during a Yahoo News interview on Friday that Hamas was involved in the kidnapping of three Israeli teens in June.
Mashaal claimed that his organization did not know about the plans to kidnap Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah ahead of time, but that it was members of his organization who carried out the attack.
“We learned about these confessions from the Israeli investigation... Hamas political leadership was not aware of all these details. We learned about it later on,” he said.
Mashaal added that the members did not carry out the attack on orders from the political branch of Hamas.
“We were not aware of this action taken by this group of Hamas members in advance,” he said. “But we understand people are frustrated under the occupation and the oppression, and they take all kinds of action.”
“Our view is that soldiers and settlers on the West Bank are aggressors, and they are illegally living in this occupied and stolen land. And the right to resist is the right of Palestinians,” he added.
Last week, a senior Hamas official admitted for the first time that the organization’s armed wing, the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, was behind the kidnapping and murders.
The Hamas official, Salah al-Aruri, made the comments during a conference of Islamic clerics in Turkey. He praised the “heroic action of the Kassam Brigades who kidnapped three settlers in Hebron.”