Israel has confirmed that the funding for the June kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenagers Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah—which set off a chain of events that led to the current war in Gaza—was provided by Hamas.
Hassam Qawasameh, a Palestinian man arrested on July 11 in connection with the abduction, admitted that the orders and financing of the kidnapping came from Gaza. Paul Hirschson, deputy spokesperson for international media at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted the news this afternoon after an Israeli gag order was lifted.
Hirschson confirmed by phone that Qawasameh was arrested three weeks ago in connection with the kidnapping, and that Qawasameh admitted the Hamas connection under interrogation.
Ynet reports that money from Hamas operatives in Gaza was used to purchase weapons used in the attack, as well as the plot of land in which the bodies were buried.
Today’s confirmation refutes speculation from various news outlets last week that Hamas wasn’t behind the kidnapping, and that the kidnappers were operating as a “lone cell.”
Batya Ungar-Sargon is a freelance writer who lives in New York. Her Twitter feed is @bungarsargon.