The families of the two Palestinian teens arrested in connection with the grisly
killings of members of the Fogel family in Itamar last month said on Sunday they
don’t believe the version given by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) about
the role of their sons in the case.
The families and many fellow
residents of the village of Awarta claimed the two – Hakim Maazan Niad Awad, 18,
and Amjad Mahmud Fauzi Awad, 19 – had confessed under “torture.”
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mayor of Awarta, who also refused to accept the Shin Bet’s version, called for
an international inquiry to reveal the identity of the “real murderers.” Some
villagers expressed fear that Awarta would be targeted by settlers seeking
“My son was at home on the night the incident took place in the
settlement,” said the mother of Hakim Awad.
“He did not leave home at all
Awad’s mother said he underwent surgery in his lower abdomen
about five months ago, and that was why he may have confessed.
they tortured him and forced him to sign a confession,” she said. “His physical
condition does not allow him to withstand torture.
Everyone who knows my
son is sure that he’s innocent.”
The mother claimed the IDF was trying to
“cover up for its crimes against our people and they chose these two young men
She also pointed out that her family lives “on the other
side of the village – far from Itamar” – a fact she said would have made it even
harder for her son to commit the killings.
Hakim Awad’s aunt said the
family already had five “martyrs” – an uncle, three cousins and a
She described Hakim as the “shy type” who rarely
socialized with other teens.
“He was a high-school pupil in the Awarta
Secondary School and did not have relationships with people older than him,” she
The mayor of Awarta, Qais Awad, also expressed doubts about the
involvement of the two teenagers in the Itamar attack and called for an
international investigation into the case.
He said Sunday’s Shin Bet
announcement about the identity of the suspects was aimed at “covering up for
the occupation’s crimes against the village over the past 35
Israel has failed and is now trying to cover up for what its
security forces did in our village by issuing this announcement, he
He was referring to the village having been sealed off during this
time, with widespread detentions and searches.
The mayor expressed fear
that his village would be targeted by “angry settlers” and the IDF because of
the arrests. He added that while he strongly condemned the Itamar killings, he
was confident that the perpetrators could not have come from his
Hussein Awad, a relative of the two suspects, said many
residents were surprised to hear about the arrests.
“We find it hard to
believe that two teenagers would commit such a despicable crime,” he said.
“Maybe they confessed under torture. We heard that the Israeli army had arrested
the sister of one of them and that this put pressure on him.”
Palestinian Authority did not issue a response to the Awarta arrests. However, a
PA official in Ramallah said Sunday’s announcement “proves that no Palestinian
organization was behind the attack on the settlement.”