Another member of Hamas has been reported missing from his home in Hebron since the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank on June 12, a Palestinian source told The Times of Israel Friday.
Israel Defense Forces soldiers raided Husam Dofsh’s family house in Hebron several times since Eyal Yifrach, 19; Naftali Fraenkel, 16; and Gil-ad Shaar, 16, were abducted from a hitchhiking post south of Jerusalem and killed on June 12, the source said. The soldiers notified the family that Dofsh was wanted for questioning, but he was never at home.
Aside from Dofsh, Israeli authorities have named two Hamas members as prime suspects in the crime: Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme have been missing from their homes in Hebron’s Hares neighborhood ever since the kidnapping and killing took place.
Dofsh has been detained by Israeli security forces in the past and has served time in Israeli prisons. His family is known to be affiliated with Hamas.
Two of Dofsh’s relatives were involved in the planning and carrying out of several terror attacks, according to the Palestinian source. In 2003, one of Dofsh’s relatives, Jihad Dofsh, was killed in what was described as a “work accident” in a Hamas explosives lab in Hebron. One of Kawasme’s relatives, Hatem Kawasme, was killed in the same incident.
The Israeli teenagers’ bodies were found near Halhul on Monday afternoon. Palestinian security forces were aiding the IDF in its hunt for the perpetrators.
Over the last few weeks, Israeli investigators discovered that Abu Aysha and Kawasme had left their mobile phones behind, prepared food caches in their homes, and each had opened a bank account under his respective wife’s name. Investigators also believe that Kawasme and Abu Aysha did not act alone.
In a recording of a desperate phone call made by one of the Israeli teeanagers several minutes after the kidnapping, the two abductors can be heard cheering and notifying another person over the phone of their deed.
One of the kidnappers is heard shouting “Three!” in Arabic. He and his accomplice can then be heard singing happily in Arabic and cheering, before the recording ends.
Military sources said the kidnappers likely shot the three teenagers during the call, after they realized the Israelis had tried to alert the police.
On Wednesday, the IDF cordoned off a small area near the West Bank town of Halhul where Kawasme and Abu Aysha are believed to be holed up, Channel 10 reported. Abu Aysha and Kawasme have operated in the Hebron area for several years, and are believed to be intimately familiar with the caves and tunnels dotting the rugged terrain surrounding Halhul, in the area where the bodies of the three Israeli teenagers were found on June 30.