Photo Credit: courtesy
Eyal Yifrah (19), Gil-Ad Shayer(16) and Naftali Frenkel (16) , the three Israeli boys are the victims of kidnapping by Hamas terrorists.

Released for publication: The Shin Bet and the IDF have arrested Mahmoud Qawasma, who was involved in the kidnapping and murder of the three yeshiva boys in 2014 in Gush Etzion.

The senior Hamas official was captured during ongoing Israeli military operations at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. He was handed over for further investigation by the Shin Bet in Israel.


The murder of the three boys ignited Operation Protective Edge, the deadly war launched by Israel against Hamas in response.

Qawasma was one of the planners and financiers of the infrastructure that carried out the June 2014 kidnapping and murder attack of Naftali Frenkel, Gil-ad Sha’ar and Eyal Yifrah.

Qawasma was one of the terrorists deported to the Gaza Strip as part of the “Shalit Deal” to free kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was abducted on June 25, 2006, while on duty in southern Israel. He spent five years in Hamas captivity in Gaza, and was freed in an October 2011 prisoner swap deal that released more than a thousand Palestinian Authority and Hamas terrorists, including a number serving life sentences.

Gaza’s Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, mastermind of the October 7, 2023 massacre in southern Israel that launched the terror group’s current war against Israel, was also among the incarcerated terrorists released in the deal to free Shalit.

Following his deportation to Gaza, Qawasma was involved for more than a decade in directing Hamas terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria from Gaza, including a number of shooting attacks carried out in recent years.

“The Shin Bet and the IDF will continue to act against those who harmed, kidnapped and murdered Israeli citizens, even over the years,” the Shin Bet said in a joint statement with the IDF.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.