December 19, 2014
Six suspects arrested for Palestinian teen murder
Israel has arrested six Jewish suspects in the abduction and killing of a Palestinian teenager whose death sparked violent protests in Jerusalem and Israeli Arab towns, a security source said.
With tensions high along the Gaza border, Israel said its aircraft attacked 10 sites in the Palestinian enclave in response to persistent rocket strikes on southern Israeli towns.
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signalled that broader Israeli action was not imminent.
The burning-alive of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair, and the earlier murders of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, have driven relations between Palestinians and Israelis to their lowest point since US-backed peace talks broke down in April.
The security source gave no details about the suspects arrested in the investigation into the abduction and killing of Abu Khudair, other than to say they were Jewish and that police saw "nationalist motives" in the case.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a gag order had been imposed on most details of the case, commenting only that police had "arrested a number of Jewish suspects who carried out the killing."
Israel's Shin Bet security agency said the suspects were being questioned at one of its installations.
Despite the gag order, Israeli media said a court had ordered the suspects remanded into custody for eight days. Police declined to comment. Israel's Channel 2 television said the suspects were far-right extremists, among them minors, from the Jerusalem area and a nearby Jewish settlement.
Abu Khudair's burnt body was discovered in a Jerusalem forest on Wednesday. Palestinians believe he was the victim of far-right Jews avenging the kidnap-killing of the three Israeli teenagers who disappeared while hitchhiking in the occupied West Bank on June 12, and whose bodies were found last Monday.
Israel blames the deaths of Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-Ad Shaer, both 16, and 19-year-old Eyal Yifrah, on the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas. The Gaza flare-up began in mid-June during Israel's search for the teenagers in the West Bank, when it arrested some Hamas members.
Hamas has neither confirmed nor denied involvement in the killings of the Israelis.
Netanyahu, speaking at a visit to the Fraenkel family, demanded Palestinian leaders do everything to find the killers of the young Israelis.
He said the Palestinian self-rule government in the West Bank was "obliged to do everything in its powers to find them ... just as our security forces located the suspects in the murder of Mohammed Abu Khudair within a matter of days."