Nearly 10 days after the firebombing of a Palestinian taxi that wounded six
family members, police on Sunday announced the arrest of three suspects in the
They are boys between 12 and 13 years old, and from the Bat Ayin
settlement in Gush Etzion, south of the capital.
At the Jerusalem
Magistrate’s Court on Sunday night, all three suspects were diminutive and
looked every bit their young age. They appeared to be in good spirits and were
taken out of the courtroom to the cheers of two friends waiting for
Two of the suspects are 12 years old and one is 13. Police detained
them Sunday afternoon and continued to question them Sunday night. If
investigators are not able to turn up more information by Monday morning, the
boys will be released to house arrest.
The youths’ lawyer, David Halevi,
said the fact that the suspects may be released on Monday is proof that “the
police have no meaningful evidence against his clients.”
He said that the
weakness of the case is illustrated by the fact that the Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency) already questioned them following the crime along with a number
of additional suspects, but did not arrest them.
Halevi represents the
suspects on behalf of the Honenu organization, which defends Jewish suspects accused of crimes against Arabs.
Halevi also represents a 15-year-old girl who is one of the main suspects in the
brutal mob beating of an Arab boy, 17, in Jerusalem’s Zion Square on August 17,
the same night the Palestinian taxi was attacked.
Gush Etzion Regional
Council head Davidi Perl said he strongly condemns the firebombing, but that it
was important not to race to judge the three teens before they were
“They are still just suspects,” he said.
The settlement of Bat Ayin also condemned violence against what it termed innocents, but rejected any connection to the attack.
"We are certain that none of our residents had a hand in this grave incident, which goes against all human and Jewish values," a statement said.Tovah Lazaroff
and JPost.com staff contributed to this report.