Shin Bet, Israel’s Security Service, released the names of Amar Abu-Eisha, 33, and Marwan Kawasmeh, 29, longstanding Hamas members from Hebron as prime suspects in the abductions. Shin Bet identified the suspects within 24 hours of kidnapping.
Both have served time in Israeli prisons. Both suspects attended prayer services regularly at the same mosque. Most importantly, both have been missing from their homes since the incident took place.
The two suspected are alleged to have been in the car in which three Israeli teens; Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-ad Shaar, both 16, were abducted outside a settlement south of Jerusalem, Israeli officials said.
Israel first arrested Abu Aysha in November 2005. After investigating the terrorist, Israeli authorities transferred him to administrative detention until June 2006. He was arrested again less than a year later.
In November 2005, Abu Aysha’s brother was killed while attempting to hurl an explosive device at IDF soldiers. Israeli authorities arrested his father several times for a range of terror activities.
Israeli authorities arrested Kawasme several times for his crimes as a member of the Hamas terrorist organization. He was imprisoned for the first time at age 18 and spent ten months in custody until August 2004. After Kawasme’s release, Israel detained him again on four occasions.
In 2010, when security forces last investigated Kawasme, he confessed that Hamas’ military wing had recruited him to operate for the organization in Hebron. In 2009, Kawasme participated in Hamas-led military training, attempted to obtain materials for explosives, and helped the terrorist organization recruit new operatives. In response to these actions, Israel detained Kawasme until March 2012.
While Shin Bet’s assumption that Hamas was responsible for the kidnapping in the Hebron area, the abductors have yet to be tracked down.
Some analysts suspect Israel’s motivation for releasing the names and photos of the kidnappers is that someone from the Palestinian side will give them up.