Qawasameh tribe

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Qawasameh tribe (Arabic القواسمة, also spelled: Qawasmeh or Kawasmeh in English), which dominates Hamas in Hebron, is a radical opposition faction within Hamas, which frequently sabotages Hamas cease fires with bombings and attacks, provoking Israeli retaliation. The Shin Bet has accused them of kidnapping the Yeshiva students. Many of the Qawasmeh were originally pro-peace moderates and supporters of a two-state solution.[1]

Notable Qawasameh Hamas members:

  • Mahmud Amaran Qawasameh (suicide bomber in Haifa bus 37, dead)
  • Hazem Qawasameh (committed shooting attack in Kiryat Arba, dead)
  • Fuad Qawasameh (suicide bomber in Gross square in Hebron, dead)
  • Hamza Qawasameh (killed Netanel Uzari, dead)[2]
  • Muhasan Qawasameh (committed attack on Negohot settlement, dead)
  • Raad Misk Qawasameh (suicide bomber of Jerusalem bus 2 massacre, dead)
  • Abbedallah Qawasameh (leader, dead)
  • Bassal Qawasameh (leader, dead)
  • Ahmed Abed Qawasameh (suicide bomber in Beersheba, dead)
  • Imad Qawasameh (leader, arrested October 13, 2004)[3]

The Hamas in Hebron is led by a family from the Qawasameh tribe. Two of its prominent leaders, Abbedalla Qawasameh and Bassal Qawasameh were suspected of/involved in many terrorist attacks, including the Jerusalem bus 14A massacre and Jerusalem bus 2 massacre, which claimed the lives of 40 Israelis.[citation needed] They were later killed by Yamam and IDF forces.

According to the IDF, Abbedalla Qawasameh was killed in June 2003 by the Yamam elite CT unit after resisting an arrest. He opened fire on the Yamam officers who returned fire and killed him. [1] According to Palestinian witnesses, however, a squad of Israeli police disguised as Palestinian labourers opened fire on him as he left a Hebron mosque.[4] The controversial assassination led to criticism of Israel from U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

His replacement, Ahmed Bader, was killed on September 9. Ahmed Bader was replaced by Abbedalla's relative – Bassal Qawasameh (also Basel Qawasmeh, Kawasmeh). They both were involved in Jerusalem's bus bombings. Bassal survived less than a month. On September 22 he was traced by IDF forces near Dura. Bassal fled to a nearby house, forcing his way in with gun threats, throwing out its occupants. After Bassal refused to surrender and opened fire on the soldiers, tanks first shelled the building, then an armoured IDF Caterpillar D9 bulldozer was brought and razed the house over Bassal.[5] A submachine gun was found near Bassal's corpse.

On August 31, 2004, Ahmed Abed Qawasameh, a resident of the Hebron Discrit, blew himself up in a suicide bombing attack at Beersheba, which claimed the lives of 16 Israeli civilians.[6] He was sent by the local Hamas leader Imad Qawasameh.

On October 13, 2004, Imad Qawasameh was arrested by IDF forces, after intelligence was provided by the Shin Bet. According to witnesses, Imad surrendered immediately after an IDF Caterpillar D9 armoured bulldozer started to demolish his house.[7][8]

In 2011, the IDF broke into Omar Qawasameh's home, put a gun to his wife's head and shot him dead in his sleep. Subsequently, the Israeli army released a statement acknowledging the Qawasameh killing was unintended. An Israeli military spokesman told the AFP news agency: "There is no indication that [al-Qawasmeh] was involved in any terror activity at any stage and therefore we regret the incident."[9]

The Qawasameh are the main suppliers of militants to the Hebron cells of Hamas.

Marwan Qawasameh is suspected of being one of two terrorists involved in the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens on June 12, 2014.[10]


  1. ^ Unruly Hebron Clan Pushes Hamas — and Israel — to Brink By J.J. Goldberg, The Forward, July 2, 2014
  2. ^ "ההרוג בפיגוע בחברון: פעיל כך נתנאל עוזרי". וואלה! חדשות. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  3. ^ התארגנות החמאס בחברון המבוססת על משפחת אלקוואסמה [Organizations of Hamas in Hebron based on the Al-Qawasama family]. Haaretz (in Hebrew). September 1, 2004. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ Archived from the original on June 4, 2004. Retrieved February 4, 2004.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-04-18. Retrieved 2003-12-17. 
  6. ^ Ilil Shahar; Amir Bohbot (June 10, 2010). בעקבות הפיגועים: יותר חיסולים [Following the attacks: more killings] (in Hebrew). Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  7. ^ Amos Harel; Arnon Regular (October 13, 2004). "Mofaz: Arrest of Hebron Hamas leader should reduce attacks". Haaretz. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Israel extends offensive in Gaza". October 13, 2004. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Palestinian killed in Israeli raid". Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "החשודים בחטיפת הנערים בגדה: פעילי החמאס מרוואן קוואסמה ועאמר אבו עיישה". הארץ. Retrieved 10 February 2015.