One of the six extremist Jewish nationalists arrested for the revenge killing of Palestinian teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir confessed to the alleged burning death four days later, the Jerusalem Post reported Sunday. Sources told the Post the admission was made to Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
He and the others have not been publicly identified, but all the suspects were described as “young men and minors” who are reportedly from an area near the West Bank settlement. They have not yet been afforded legal representation, the Post said, but one of the suspects has reportedly incriminated the others.
Many of the details surrounding the arrests have been withheld because of a gag order, but hours after the suspects were apprehended, a Petah Tikva court determined five of the suspects would be held for eight more days and the sixth would be held for five more days, the Post said.
An unidentified official said two of the suspects were linked to a kidnapping in East Jerusalem the night before Abu Khdeir was killed. Security footage, which was uploaded to YouTube Sunday, shows two of the suspects talking to an unseen person who is believed to be the kidnap victim moments later.
After the arrest, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch released a statement that condemned the murder, the Post said.
“The state of Israel is a country that abides by, and enforces, the law, and will continue to take determined action against all those who violate the law,” the statement read. “I ask that everyone show responsibility and work to prevent further disturbances.”
Aharonovitch continued: “This was a shocking and unacceptable act which any sane person, certainly in a strong and democratic country such as the state of Israel, must strongly condemn.”
The Palestinian teen’s death has resulted in nationwide riots, Ynetnews reported. More than 100 mask-clad protesters threw stones at police in the Shuafat neighborhood, where Khedir lived. People in Tel Sheva, Shfaram, Iksal, Galilee, Arraba and Nazareth threw stones, Molotov cocktails and even burned parts of a police outpost.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked the public to exercise restraint during the investigation of Abu Khdeir’s killing. He called the teen’s death “reprehensible” and “loathsome.”
“Israel is a nation of laws and everyone must act according to the law,” the prime minister said.
A week before Abu Khdeir’s death, three Jewish teenagers were killed, which is why his death has been referred to as a “revenge” killing. In a press conference, the Netanyahu “unequivocally” condemned all the deaths, the Post said, adding there was no place “for those kind of murderers in Israeli society.”
Netanyahu vowed Israel would punish the killers.
“That is how we are different from our neighbors,” he said. “Their murderers are hailed as heroes and public squares are named in their honor.”
Following his statement, the Israeli army unleashed an airstrike on the central Gaza Strip late Sunday. Seven Hamas gunmen were killed early Monday, Reuters reported. Two of those killed were a part of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, Ma’an News Agency added.
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