Israel names two Hamas militants as key suspects in kidnappings

JERUSALEM Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:56pm EDT

1 of 2. Amar Abu Aysha is seen in this undated handout photo released by Israel's Shin Bet Security Agency on June 26, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Shin Bet Security Agency/Handout via Reuters

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel on Thursday named two Hamas Islamists as leading suspects in the June 12 kidnappings of three Israeli teenagers, in the most concrete report yet of results after weeks of searches in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed reports that troops were seeking Marwan Kawasme and Amar Abu Aysha, militants in their 30s from the Hebron area of the occupied West Bank, both of whom have served time in Israeli prisons in the past.

Israel's Shin Bet Security Agency said in a statement both men had been wanted and at large since the kidnappings, adding that several other Palestinians suspected of involvement in the abductions were being questioned.

Aysha was jailed without trial under so-called administrative detention for six months in 2005, about the time his brother was killed by Israeli forces as he attempted to throw explosives at soldiers, Israeli security officials said.

Kawasme once served a 10-month prison term and trained for military action in the Hebron area, in addition to being involved with Hamas recruitment efforts there, the officials said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the suspects were only part of the group behind the kidnappings and reiterated his call on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to abrogate a unity pact with Hamas, a group that holds power in the Gaza Strip and calls for Israel's destruction.

Israeli authorities have been searching for two weeks for the youths aged 16 and 19, one of whom is a dual U.S.-Israeli national, who disappeared near a Jewish seminary at a West Bank settlement.

Israel scaled back its searches for the youths on Tuesday after arresting several hundred Palestinians in house-to-house raids throughout the West Bank which led Palestinians and some rights groups to accuse it of imposing collective punishment on civilians.

(Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; editing by Andrew Roche)

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Comments (7)
DJSanDiego wrote:
Amer and Mawan are guilty only because they cannot be found…….??? this is the logic from the mind of a twelve year old and closely parallels Bibi shadow painting the Hitler Mustache on Angela Merkals face….the chosen have not finished with us

Jun 26, 2014 3:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Torture seems to work!

Jun 26, 2014 3:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Reuters1945 wrote:
Israel’s Shin Bet Security Agency is known to always be exceedingly careful not to ever divulge results of ongoing investigations prematurely.

There is therefore a high likelihood that they have obtained insider information from one or more residents in the West Bank who are beginning to object to thousands of innocent Palestinians having to suffer and pay for the crimes of a fanatical and shortsighted few.

Israel’s Shin Bet Security Agency has solved far more difficult cases than that of the present kidnapping victims. Unlike the case of Gilad Shalit, the kidnapped soldier who was secretly held incommunicado in Gaza for more than five years, there is a 99.999% certainty that the three missing teens, whether still alive or not are still in the area in which they disappeared as the area was under an immediate physical lockdown from the first few hours after the teenagers went missing.

For Israel’s Shin Bet Security Agency to release names and photos at this point would appear to reflect that the noose is tightening around those responsible. There are many Palestinians who realize that such kidnapping/s do not advance their cause in the slightest and in fact, on the contrary, do much damage to their cause.

There is also the added possibility that a large reward has been quietly offered for information leading to the successful rescue of the missing teens.

It is most probable that Israel’s Shin Bet Security Agency will solve this tragic situation within the next three months and perhaps a good deal sooner. The big question is whether the three missing teens will be located while they are still alive.

For the sake of all involved, including countless Palestinians who do not agree with the tactics of kidnapping civilians, one must hope for an early resolution of this sad story and that the teens are returned in good health to their families.

One highly likely result of this episode is that it is most doubtful that prisoners arrested for violent crimes in the past can expect to see any prisoner “Swaps” and/or early releases for a long, long time to come.

Just as is the case in the US and Europe, the percent of released prisoners who overwhelmingly resort and/or revert to past patterns of behavior make early releases for serious crimes inadvisable, unwise and generally counterproductive.

Jun 26, 2014 4:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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