Israeli forces confirmed they’ve killed two suspects in the June kidnapping and murder of Israeli teens Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach, an incident which gripped the country and became one of the precipitating forces of the 50-day war in Gaza. The New York Times reports that the IDF located the two men, who were suspected of abducting and murdering the hitchhiking teens, and killed them during a shootout in Hebron.
Hamas, which had claimed responsibility for the June murders, has identified the two men as members of the militant group’s armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades.
The Times reports:
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner of the Israeli military said Marwan Qawasmeh, 29, and Amer Abu Aisha, 33, “came out shooting” around 6 a.m. as troops breached a two-story structure in Hebron where the suspects had been holed up for a week. “In that exchange, one of them was killed on the spot,” Colonel Lerner said. “We have one confirmed kill and the second assumed killed. Because of how he fell back into the void and the grenades that we threw after him, it’s very unlikely that he survived.”
This latest confrontation, which comes nearly a month after an Egypt-mediated ceasefire ended the bloody conflict, occurred on the same day long-term peace talks were scheduled to resume in Cairo, and could cause the already fraught accord in the region to unravel. Palestinian protestors immediately took to the streets in Hebron, and the city’s governor called the incident premeditated murder.
Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.