Israeli Court Convicts Mastermind Behind Kidnap-murder of 3 Teens

Hussam Qawasmeh, a Palestinian from Hebron, admitted to planning and funding the attack, burying the boys’ bodies and hiding the perpetrators.

Emil Salman

Hussam Qawasmeh, the Palestinian who confessed to planning the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank in June, was convicted in an Israeli military court on Wednesday of three counts of accessory to premeditated manslaughter. Qawasmeh, who was behind the deaths of Israeli teenagers Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah, was also convicted of membership in a group that committed intentional manslaughter, two counts of bringing enemy funds into the country, one count of carrying out activities for Hamas, one count of arms dealing, two counts of obstruction of justice, and one count of sheltering wanted individuals.

Qawasmeh admitted to planning the attack, along with Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisheh, and funding it with roughly 200,000 shekels he received from his brother in Gaza, who was deported to the Strip as part of the deal that released kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Since then, the brother in Gaza began working for Hamas.

Qawasmeh also admitted to procuring weapons and giving them to Marwan Qawasmeh to use in the attack, and later aiding Marwan in burying the boys’ bodies, as well as destroying other evidence of the attack. Qawasmeh also aided Marwan and Abu Aisheh in evading law enforcement officials by providing them with food and water.

Qawasmeh, a 40-year-old resident of the West Bank city of Hebron, was arrested on July 11 in connection with the murder of the boys, who went missing on June 12 and were discovered dead a couple of weeks later.

In September Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisheh were killed in a firefight with Israeli forces in Hebron. A month earlier, the Israel Defense Forces destroyed the homes of Hussam Qawasmeh and Abu Aisheh and sealed up the home of Marwan Qawasmeh .

Reuters