Alleged mastermind behind kidnapping of three Israeli teens arrested

State prosecutors say Hussam Kawasme confessed to giving orders, collecting weapons, getting funds from Hamas; 2 chief suspects still at large.

Wanted for kidnapping: (left to right) Marwan Quasma and Amar Abu Eisha (photo credit: Courtesy)
Wanted for kidnapping: (left to right) Marwan Quasma and Amar Abu Eisha
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Husam al-Qawasmi was the mastermind who gave the mid-June order to Marwan al-Qawasmi and Amir Abu Aisha to kidnap teenagers Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel, the state prosecution revealed on Tuesday.
The kidnapping and murder, according to many, was the spark that ignited a rapid deterioration in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict culminating in the Gaza war that has rocked the region this past month.
The UN Security Council went out of its way to condemn the brutal murders.
According to the state, Husam confessed not only that he gave the orders, but also that he collected weapons and raised funding for the attack by the Hamas cell.
In addition, Husam assisted Marwan in concealing the bodies by burying them on land he had bought in recent months.
Husam was attempting to flee the area and disappear across the Jordanian border with false documents subsequent to the bodies being found when he was caught on July 11.
The state said the evidence it had was at the level of a near certainty, having interrogated Husam and collected other evidence.
That said, confessions to police can be withdrawn at trial, and to date, Husam has not been indicted, and may not be for some time.
Marwan and Amir are still at large.
The kidnapping took place when the three teens hitchhiked with their eventual assailants in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc.
The revelations arose in the state’s legal response to the High Court of Justice, justifying its request to demolish the residences of the families of the three suspected terrorists.
The High Court of Justice on Thursday had frozen three IDF demolition orders against those residences.
The knocking down of the family homes were originally scheduled for late Thursday afternoon.
On July 1, the state dropped a self-imposed ban on house demolitions that had been in place since 2005.