Israeli youths’ murder called revenge blueprint

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JERUSALEM — They cruised around the Arab neigh­bor­hoods of East Jeru­sa­lem for hours in the dark of night, three Is­raeli Jews: a man of 29, who was driv­ing, and two of his rel­a­tives, both about 17. They were look­ing for a vic­tim, pref­er­a­bly some­one light­weight, who could eas­ily be pushed into the car.

Though some de­tails re­main un­cer­tain, at 3:48 a.m. July 2, ac­cord­ing to the Shin Bet, Is­rael’s in­ter­nal se­cu­rity agency, the three rel­a­tives — now mur­der sus­pects who have yet to be iden­ti­fied — came across a slightly built Pal­es­tin­ian teen­ager: Mo­ham­med Abu Kh­deir, 16, who was wait­ing for his friends near the mosque on the main road of the well-to-do neigh­bor­hood of Shua­fat.

After forc­ing the youth into their car, they sped off to a for­est near the west­ern en­trance to Jeru­sa­lem. Mo­ham­med was dragged from the ve­hi­cle, and the adult blud­geoned him on the head with a wrench. The adult then set him on fire with the help of one of his young rel­a­tives. Leav­ing the teen to die, the three fled.

Hours be­fore the teen’s kill­ing, Is­rael had bur­ied three of its teen­agers — Eyal Yi­frach, 19, and friends Gilad Shaar and Naf­tali Fraenkel, both 16 —who had been ab­ducted as they hitched a ride home from their ye­shi­vas in the West Bank and were shot to death soon af­ter. Their bod­ies were found in a field af­ter an 18-day search.

Bent on re­venge for that and other at­tacks against Jews, ac­cord­ing to de­tails of the Shin Bet in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Kh­deir youth’s death re­leased Mon­day, the three sus­pects planned the mur­der.

The ab­duc­tion and mur­der of the Is­raeli teen­agers, the sub­se­quent West Bank clamp­down against Ha­mas and the re­venge kill­ing of the Kh­deir boy fur­ther poi­soned the at­mo­sphere be­tween Is­rae­lis and Pal­es­tin­ians, ig­nit­ing ten­sions that grew into a full-blown con­fron­ta­tion.

The three sus­pects, the Shin Bet said, have since ad­mit­ted ab­duct­ing and kill­ing the Kh­deir boy. The Shin Bet and po­lice said the three had also re-en­acted the at­tack for in­ves­ti­ga­tors. Their iden­ti­ties re­main con­cealed un­der a ju­di­cial or­der. Micky Ros­en­feld, a po­lice spokes­man, said they were ex­pected to be charged Fri­day with kid­nap­ping and pre­med­i­tated mur­der.

israel - Middle East - Jerusalem - Palestinian territories - West Bank - Gaza Strip - Benjamin Netanyahu - Hebron


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