A resident of East Jerusalem was charged on Tuesday with aiding the escape of a suspected accomplice in the kidnap and slaying of Israeli teenagers Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-ad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach.
The Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office filed an indictment in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court for obstruction of justice and harboring a criminal against Wail Karame, a resident of Anata, a Palestinian village on Jerusalem’s northeast municipal boundary.
According to the indictment, Karame offered a safe place to hide after the attack to Hussam Kawasme, who Israel says was in command of the two-man Hebron-based Hamas cell that carried out the kidnappings and killings of the teens on June 12.
Karame and Kawasme are cousins, and the bodies of the teens were eventually found on Karame’s land in a field near Hebron. According to the indictment, Karame knew where the teens were buried but kept the information secret until he was arrested by Israeli security forces.
Earlier this month security officials revealed that they had arrested Kawasme, a resident of Hebron, who was nabbed in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat. Officials did not say when he was caught.
Kawasme is thought to be the man telephoned by the two alleged kidnappers, Marwan Kawasme and Amer Abu Aysha, after the abduction and murder. Marwan Kawasme and Abu Aysha are still at large.
The kidnapping sparked a massive search operation and crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank, with hundreds of members being arrested. Tensions further ratcheted up after the teens’ bodies were found outside Hebron on June 30, and an East Jerusalem teen was kidnapped and killed by a Jewish Israeli, sparking days of unrest throughout the country and in the West Bank and heavy rocket fire on Israel from the Gaza Strip.
On July 8, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to stymie the rocket fire with airstrikes and later carried out a limited ground incursion into Gaza to destroy a network of cross-border tunnels.