NEW: At least eight Palestinian militants were killed in Gaza airstrikes, Hamas sources say
Aunt of beaten teen says he doesn't really understand what's going on, is scared
Mother of dead Palestinian teen wants Israel to raze suspects' homes
The boy's cousin was released from detention Sunday and is on house arrest
Several Israeli Jewish suspects were arrested Sunday in connection with the killing of a Palestinian teen, Israeli police said.
“Investigation continuing, strong indication a nationalistic incident, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted about the death of Mohammed Abu Khedair.
Rosenfeld told CNN that those arrested were Israeli Jews.
Rosenfeld also tweeted Sunday that police have arrested a “taxi driver from the north who admitted killing the girl Sheli Dadon in Migdal Haemek recently. Background nationalistic.” The 19-year-old Jewish girl was killed last month. The suspect is an Arab resident of the Galilee, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Mohammed Abu Khedair’s death came after the bodies of three Israeli Jewish teens were found in the West Bank. Israeli and Palestinian officials quickly suspected it was a revenge killing and condemned any such actions.
The Palestinian teen’s mother said she wants equal justice for her son’s killers.
‘If they sentence them and demolish their houses and give them life sentences, it might satisfy me a little,” Suha Abu Khedair said.
The Israeli military destroyed the homes of the two suspects in the killings of the three Israeli teens.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday sent his condolences to the family, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
“I also promise that we will exploit the full extent of the law with the perpetrators of this horrendous crime worthy of condemnation and denunciation,” he said, according to Channel 2, a CNN affiliate. “These kind of murderers do not belong in the Israeli society.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas handed a letter to Robert Serry, U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, asking for an investigation into recent crimes against Palestinian people, Palestinian state news agency WAFA reported.
Mohammed Abu Khedair, 16, died from being burned alive and hit on the head with a blunt object, according to Palestinian General Prosecutor Mohammed al-Auwewy, citing a medical autopsy.
Al-Auwewy said the autopsy discovered traces of smoke inside the lungs of the 16-year-old, indicating it was inhaled while the fire was burning.
The teenager was heading from his home to a mosque in the middle-class neighborhood of Shuafat in East Jerusalem for prayers around 4 a.m. when three men forced him into a car and drove off, his father, Hussain Abu Khedair, told CNN. The boy’s body was found about an hour later at a forest in Jerusalem.
He was buried on Friday.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Israel Defense Forces said it prevented an attack by targeting terrorists involved in rocket launching in Gaza. At least 25 rockets fired from Gaza hit Israel in the past day, IDF said.
“This reality is unbearable and unacceptable. We will continue to act in order to debilitate and incapacitate the Hamas terror infrastructure, striking its warehouses, rocket manufacturing capabilities and those that endanger the well-being of the Israelis in the south of the country,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col Peter Lerner said in a statement.
At least eight Palestinian militants were killed in over 10 Israeli airstrikes across the Gaza Strip overnight, Hamas security sources told CNN. They said four militants were injured.
Cousin released from detention
Khedair’s American cousin was given house arrest by a court in Jerusalem on Sunday after an incident in which his family says he was beaten by Israeli security forces.
Tariq Khdeir was detained at a protest following the death of his cousin. A 15-year-old high school sophomore from Florida, he said he was standing around, watching protesters last week when he was accosted.
“I was attacked by police. I woke up in the hospital,” Khdeir said as he walked out of court in Jerusalem on Sunday.
It’s unclear why the teen is being investigated or what possible charges he might face.
The teen, who had bruising around his eyes, paid bail and was driven away with his parents to serve his house arrest in the Beit Hanina neighborhood in Jerusalem.
“They (his attackers) came from the side of me, and I tried to run away,” he said, adding he felt much better Sunday.
He will be kept under house detention for nine days, lawyer Ziad Haidimi said after a court session.