J'lem Arabs nabbed for yeshiva stabbing, firebomb

Three Jerusalem Arabs who identify with the mainstream Palestinian Fatah movement were under arrest Tuesday for allegedly stabbing a yeshiva student in Jerusalem's Old City and firebombing a city apartment building earlier this month, police said. The three 17-20-year-old suspects, residents of the city's northern Shuafat refugee camp, told police investigators that they stabbed the Jerusalem yeshiva student and carried out the firebombing "out of hatred of Jews," and because they "wanted the Jews to burn up in their houses," Jerusalem police spokesperson Sigal Toledo said. The yeshiva student was lightly wounded in the November 12 Old City attack, while there were no injuries in the November 11 firebombing in the city's northern Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood. According to the police investigation, the suspects decided to stab a Jew in memory of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, whose one year passing was being marked that day. Before the attack, they lit a memorial candle in Arafat's memory by the Damascus Gate, and then decided to attack a Jew. The three came upon three yeshiva students walking nearby, whom they pelted with stones, and then stabbed one of them before fleeing, the police said. The slightly wounded yeshiva student was treated for stab wounds at Hadassah-University Hospital, Ein Kerem. The two key suspects in the case, Kazem Majid Abu-Sneineh, 20, and Muhammad Farhan, 18, were remanded in custody for four days Tuesday by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court. Police said they would ask the court at the next hearing to detain the two suspects through the duration of their trial. Police said that the three Arab suspects were not connected with Friday's stabbing of a 14-year-old yeshiva student in east Jerusalem, and that the suspected assailants in that attack were still at large. Meanwhile, in a separate development, Jerusalem police on Tuesday also arrested two Arab teens on suspicion of hurling two firebombs at another city apartment building on Saturday night, police said. The two 16-year-old residents of the east Jerusalem village of Shuafat have confessed to the late-night attack in the city's nearby Reches Shuafat neighborhood. The two, who cannot be named as they are minors, were to be brought to a Jerusalem court for a remand hearing late Tuesday, with more arrests expected in the case. There were no injuries reported in the firebombing, but the building was damaged. The wave of arrests come in the wake of three Arab stabbings in the city in the last several months, including the fatal stabbing of a British yeshiva student in the Old City.