JERUSALEM (JTA) – “Several Jewish suspects” have been arrested in connection with the murder of a Palestinian teen, Israel’s Shin Bet security service said.
The arrests in the July 2 abduction and murder of Muhammad Abu Khieder in eastern Jerusalem came Sunday morning, July 6, according to a Shin Bet statement.
The suspects are being questioned, according to the statement, which added, “All other details regarding the investigation are under a judicial gag order.”
One of the suspects confessed and implicated other suspects, who also confessed under Shin Bet interrogation, the Israeli media reported.
Khieder was buried last Friday afternoon following Ramadan prayers. He was burned alive, Palestinian Authority Attorney General Mohammed Al-A’wewy told the official Palestinian Wafa news agency, in an attack that took place hours after the burial of three kidnapped Israeli teens whose bodies were found in a shallow grave in a field near Hebron.
“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,” Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged following arrests in the murder of a Palestinian teen that the killers “will face the full weight of the law.”
Sending his condolences to the victim’s family, Netanyahu said, “I pledge that the perpetrators of this horrific crime, which must be resolutely condemned in the most forceful language, I pledge that the perpetrators of this horrific crime will face the full weight of the law. I know that in our society, the society of Israel, there is no place for such murderers.
“And that’s the difference between us and our neighbors. They consider murderers to be heroes. They name public squares after them. We don’t. We condemn them and we put them on trial and we’ll put them in prison,” he said. “We do not differentiate between the terrorists and we will respond to all of them, wherever they come from, with a firm hand.”
Netanyahu made his remarks in Nof Ayalon, where he paid a condolence call to the family of Naftali Fraenkel, one of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers found dead last week after an 18-day search.
Netanyahu also pledged to capture the murderers of Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, who have been identified by Israeli security services.
“The Palestinian Authority is obliged to do everything in its power to find them, just as we did, just as our security forces located the suspects in the murder of Mohammed Abu Khieder within a matter of days,” he said.
On Saturday, Israeli soldiers arrested a third man, Husam Dofsh, believed to be connected to the June 12 kidnapping and murder of the Israelis. Dofsh, who was missing from his Hebron home since the abduction, is suspected of assisting the killers of Shaar and Fraenkel, both 16, and Yifrach, 19.
Two West Bank Palestinians affiliated with Hamas, Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme, had been identified previously by the Shin Bet and the Israeli military as the alleged abductors of the teens. The suspects, who live in Hebron, have been missing since the Israeli teens were kidnapped.