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