The IDF on Sunday arrested the father of a Hamas member suspected of kidnapping three Israeli teenagers on June 12, a Hamas-affiliated newspaper reported on Sunday.
According to Al-Resalah, Israeli soldiers raided and searched a number of homes in Hebron early Sunday morning, arresting Omar Abu Aysha, the father of 32-year-old Amer Abu Aysha, a known Hamas member who went missing immediately following the kidnapping. The elder Abu Aysha was reportedly one of seven Palestinians from the Hebron area arrested by the IDF overnight.
The military also searched 190 locations on Saturday night as part of Operation Brother’s Keeper, Israel media reported.
Asked last week about his son’s whereabouts, Omar Abu Aysha — who has spent time in Israeli prisons for ties with Hamas — told The Times of Israel that Amer had abruptly left a family gathering just hours before the kidnapping without offering any details about his destination.
Abu Aysha’s mother told The Times of Israel that unlike Zayd — Amer’s brother who was killed in a clash with IDF soldiers in Hebron in 2005 — Amer was a family man who was deeply involved in the lives of his wife and three children. She said he had worked in Jerusalem as well as in al-Azariya, east of the city. She added that she too last saw Abu Aysha on Thursday, June 12, before the abduction, and said she did not notice anything unusual in his behavior.
She added, however, that if her son did take part in the kidnapping, she was proud of him and hoped he would continue to evade capture, both by Israeli and Palestinian Authority security forces.
Sources in Hebron told Al-Resalah that the purpose of Omar Abu Aysha’s arrest was to “put pressure on the family and his son Amer.” The sources added that the IDF had searched the house more than once over the past few days, leaving destruction behind.
The IDF spokesman had no comment at time of publication.
Avi Issacharoff and Adiv Sterman contributed to this report.