Israeli security forces overnight Wednesday confiscated money given to the families of Hamas terrorists who carried out the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, the army said.
In a joint IDF, Shin Bet, Border Police and Israel Police operation in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, security forces raided dozens of targets, taking thousands of shekels that were given to the families by the Hamas terror group.
The IDF said in a statement that two cars and two computers given to the families as compensation were also confiscated.
Since the June 2014 attack, the terrorists’ families have been receiving large sums from Hamas intended to “empower the families of the terrorists on the Palestinian street” and encourage future terror attacks, the IDF said.
Gil-ad Shaar, 16, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19, were nabbed from a hitchhiking post in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank, south of Jerusalem, on June 12 and killed shortly after.
The killers hid the bodies and for weeks the teens’ fate was unknown. Their abduction sparked a massive search in the West Bank, as well as a crackdown on Hamas, before their bodies were found hidden in a shallow grave in a field near Hebron on June 30.
Tensions were further ratcheted up following the murder of Palestinian teenager Muhammed Abu Kdheir by Jewish extremists in an apparent revenge attack. The events were a major catalyst of the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza that started on July 8.
Hebron native Hussam Kawasme, who the Shin Bet said planned the attack along with his Gaza-based brother Mahmoud Kawasme, was sentenced to three life terms in prison in January 2015.
The alleged actual perpetrators of the kidnapping and murders, Marwan Kawasme and Amer Abu Aysha, were killed during a September 2014 arrest attempt in Hebron. Security forces descended on the house where the suspects were believed to be hiding and began firing heavily on the home. They were killed after refusing to surrender.
In separate operations across the West Bank overnight, security forces arrested 22 suspects for “popular terrorism,” a catch-all term typically referring to rock-throwing and violent protests against security forces.