by Uzi Baruch
IDF and Shin Bet nab Hamas cell led by Mohammed Ali Kawasmeh, brother of mastermind behind abduction and murder of three teens.
IDF soldier by Hevron mosque
Nati Shohat/Flash 90
The cell had purchased an M-16 rifle and a pistol for the attack; both weapons were seized by security forces during the investigation.
In charge of the cell was Mohammed Ali Qawasmeh, 38, who recruited the terrorists - all residents of Hevron.
Qawasmeh's brother, Hassam Ali Qawasmeh, was the mastermind behind the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June 2014.
In addition to Qawasmeh, members of the cell included Louie Pitzel Hashalmon, a 32-year-old Hamas terrorist imprisoned in the past, and Hamas operatives, Amar Mohammed Iwiwi, 29, and Hassam Fakhri Hashalmon, 24.
Under interrogation by Shin Bet agents, the terrorists admitted Qawasmehand the senior Hashalmon had taken a number of "surveillance" trips on Route 35, in order to identify the best point to conduct an attack.
They then purchased the weapons necessary to carry out the shooting.
It also emerged that Qawasmeh had recruited logistical assistants, who were tasked with acquiring stolen vehicles with which to carry out the attack, as well as to assist members of the cell in evading capture by Israeli security forces after the attack.
The terrorists have been indicted at the Judea Military Court on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and membership in a terror cell affiliated with the Hamas terror organization.
They will remain detained through the end of proceedings against them.
"The nabbing of this terrorist cell, who displayed a high level of preparedness in planning this attack, again shows the incessant efforts by Hamas operatives in Hevron to carry out serious attacks," the Shin Bet stated.
The Qawasmeh clan plays a central role in Hamas terrorism in the Hevron region. Just last week another Qawasmeh-led cell was busted which planned further kidnappings and murders of Israelis.
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