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Middle East

Army razes Hebron homes of suspected teen kidnappers

A Palestinian man stands near the rubble of the house of Hussam Qawasmeh, one of three Palestinians identified by Israel as suspects in the killing of three Israeli teenagers, after it was demolished by the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Hebron, Monday, Aug. 18 , 2014. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel said Monday it had destroyed the family homes of two of three Palestinians suspected of involvement in the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June.

Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach disappeared from a hitchhiking stop in the southern West Bank on June 12 and their bodies were found June 30.

Israel has named three Palestinians from the southern city of Hebron as being behind the abduction – Hossam Qawasmeh, who was arrested in July, and Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Eisha – both of whom are still at large.

“Overnight, as part of the ongoing mission to combat terror in the region, security personnel demolished the residences of Hossam Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Eisha, and sealed off the residence of Marwan Qawasmeh in Hebron,” an army statement said.

The homes of Qawasmeh and Abu Eisha had been partially destroyed by the army on July 1, a day after the teens’ bodies were found, Palestinian witnesses told AFP at the time.

At the scene, an AFP correspondent confirmed the demolition of two of the houses and said a third had been sealed off with concrete.

Israeli officials say all three are Hamas members, with Hossam Qawasmeh named as the leader of the group.

It said the demolition was carried out after the High Court rejected three appeals against it.

Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told AFP the kidnapping was orchestrated by Hossam Qawasmeh, a senior Hamas militant who sent the other two, both of whom had a history of serving time in prison for their involvement in Hamas, to carry out the abduction.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 19, 2014, on page 9.

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