Marwan Kawasmeh and Amir Abu Eisha, the two alleged perpetrators of the June 2014 kidnap/murders of three Israeli Yeshiva Students, were killed early Tuesday morning in a shootout at an armed compound near Hebron by a special operations unit of Israeli Border Police aided by Shin Bet. Hamas, which took responsibility for the murders, praised the two slain perpetrators as so-called ‘martyrs’ during a funeral today. See our NER interview with Dan Diker,”Exposing Hamas’ Kidnapping Strategy.
According to a report in Arutz Sheva, Israel National News, “Murderers of the Three Teens Eliminated”, the kidnapping and murder of the three Yeshiva students was preplanned. A relative of the family obtained a car with Israeli license tags and the perpetrators were dressed as orthodox Jews to mislead and entrap the three hitchhiking victims, Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha’ar, and Naftali Frenkel. Hamas used the manhunt that ensnared hundreds of its members on the West Bank as a pretext for the launch of 50 day rocket and terror tunnel campaign and IDF Operation Protective Edge in July and August 2014. 67 IDF soldiers and 6 Israel civilians were killed, while 2,100 Palestinians were killed, nearly half of whom may have been Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters.
Here are excerpts from the Arutz Sheva report. On the raid that killed the two murderers:
The operation was carried out by the Yamam, a special unit of the Border Police, and the IDF, in Hevron. An attempt was made to arrest the suspects but an exchange of fire developed in which they were killed.
The operation was made possible by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), which located the murderers’ hideout. In the last few days, several Hamas suspects were arrested and questioned on the assumption that they were assisting the fugitives.
“We have been pursuing these two since the abduction,” said Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brig. Gen. Tamir Yadai. “Last night the investigation ripened as regards their location and we have been surrounding the place where they were hiding since 1:00 a.m. We killed them and there are arrests of several other collaborators.”
“We began arresting suspects and at the same time we applied [IDF] ‘pressure cooker’ protocol on the house. It is a big house and they hid out in a secret arms store on the basement floor. The floor is not visible from the outside. At one stage they went outside and opened fire. One was shot and the other fell inside, into a hole.”
“There was use of weapons, like hand grenades and the deployment of explosives that were prepared ahead of time,” he added. “We know that they have been staying in this location quite a lot in the last few days. We know for certain that they were not here the whole time. They had weapons like M-16s, a Kalashnikov and handguns, too.”
The accomplices and planning for the kidnapping:
Kawasmeh’s close relative Hussam was arrested in Jerusalem in August for planning the attack, which was carried out physically by Marwan, along with Amer Abu-Eisha.
The abduction and murder reportedly was planned by a third Kawasmeh, Mahmoud, along with Hussam, under the support of Hamas’s military branch, the Al-Qassam Brigades, through their branches both in Gaza and abroad.
The Brigades transferred funds via Mahmoud to purchase a car with an Israeli license plate, weapons and hideouts which were arranged in advance, according to security sources. They added that the three Israeli teens were buried on land purchased by the Kawasmeh family long before the attack. Hussam admitted in investigation to having shaven his beard off and obtained a forged passport in an attempt to flee the country to Jordan.
The source claimed the kidnappers used a silenced weapon, indicating their attempt to actually use the gun, and dressed up as religious Jews to lure the victims into their car.
The Jerusalem Post reported Israeli PM Netanyahu saying that Israel “had fulfilled its pledge”:
“I said from the very first that Hamas was responsible for the kidnapping and murder, and as the evidence that we brought mounted, Hamas admitted that it was also behind that attack.”
Netanyahu, who thanked the security services for their efforts, said he spoke to the families of the murdered teens in the morning, and said that nothing could balm their pain or bring the boys back. “But I said there was justice, and that we carried out the mission that we pledged before them and the entire nation that we would carry out”.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.