Terror Mastermind behind Teens’ Murders Given 3 Life Sentences

January 6, 2015  

The military court in Ofer Prison sentenced terrorist Hussam Hassan Kawasmeh to three life sentences on Tuesday, for facilitating the abduction and murder of Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frankel, and Gilad Sha’ar in June.

During the reading of the verdict, the judges stated that this is one of the worst cases of murder and kidnapping in Israel, and that it “had a great influence on the security situation” at large.

“The accused was convicted of the most serious crimes…the cold-blooded and terrible murder of three young people who were going home to their families,” court documents said. “As a result of his actions, the accused is sentenced to three life terms. He will be removed from society and spend the rest of his life in prison. In addition he will pay compensation of 250,000 shekels to each of the families of the youths.”

Kawasmeh, of Hevron, was convicted of planning and financing the teens’ murder in December. He owned the plot of land in which the murdered teens’ bodies were discovered and admitted to receiving funding from Hamas. 

A joint arrest operation between the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the police nabbed Kawasmeh in July. 

Hussam’s interrogation revealed that he had played a fundamental part in the kidnapping, and served as its mastermind and overall coordinator. Among other things, he secured some 200,000 shekels from his Gaza-based brother and Hamas operative Mahmoud Kawasmeh to fund the attack, and used part of that money to purchase the car used in the abductions. That car was later found burned out near Hevron. 

The money was also used to buy weapons – two pistols and two assault rifles – which were given to Marwan Kawasmeh prior to the attack. Hussam received those weapons from another Hamas terrorist in Hevron, Adnan Mohammed Azzat Zaro.

Kawasmeh also helped fellow murderers Marwan and Amar Abu-Eisha, who were eliminated by the Shin Bet in September, to find a place to hide after burying the bodies in a shallow grave on his land. He had then been planning on fleeing to Jordan using false identification after the attacks, but was nabbed before he had the chance. 

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