Released for Publication:
Hussam al-Qawasmeh, the terrorist who planned and commanded the terror cell that kidnapped Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Sha’ar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, has been arrested.
Qawasmeh was taken into custody three weeks ago in a joint Shin Bet – IDF sting operation in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat. It’s the same Arab neighborhood where massive violence tore apart three Jerusalem Light Rail stations following the murder of a young Arab teen, the day after the bodies of the three Israeli boys were found.
He confessed under interrogation to having masterminded the terrorist attack, and to having obtained financing for the operation from Hamas in Gaza.
The Hebron resident had attempted to escape to Jordan using false identity papers as soon as the bodies of the three young Israeli teenage murder victims were unearthed from their hurriedly dug, shallow stony graves in a field along Highway 60 just north of Hebron.
Under interrogation, Qawasmeh confessed that he masterminded the operation to kidnap and murder the boys. Marwan Qawasmeh – his kinsman – and Amar Abu Aisha, both also residents of Hebron, are suspected of being the ones to having joyfully carried out those plans. The actual gunshots that murdered the boys and the celebrations of their attackers after the murders in the getaway car were heard on a recording made by police via a call from one of the boys as he desperately sought rescue. The two murderers, meanwhile, remain at large.
Among other things, the interrogation also revealed that the terror cell that kidnapped and murdered the boys received orders and financing from Hamas in Gaza and overseas.
The search for the two operatives continues.