Israel arrests Jewish students over Palestinian woman’s death

Israeli border police watch as Palestinian young girls walk on a street in Abu Dis, on the outskirts of east Jerusalem. (AFP)
Updated 06 January 2019
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Israel arrests Jewish students over Palestinian woman’s death

  • There was also a protest of several hundred people on Saturday night outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence over the detention of the Jewish minors

JERUSALEM: Israel has arrested five Jewish seminary students in the occupied West Bank in connection with a fatal rock attack on a Palestinian car that killed a woman, the Israeli domestic intelligence service said on Sunday.

The arrests had led to mounting speculation in the Israeli media, but authorities had refused to comment, citing a gag order on details of the case while the investigation continued.

There was also a protest of several hundred people on Saturday night outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence over the detention of the Jewish minors.

A number of suspects had been arrested on Dec. 30, more than two months after Aisha Al-Rabi was killed on Oct. 12, Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency said in a statement after a court order limiting media coverage of the Dec. 30 arrests was lifted.

“The suspects were arrested for serious terrorist offenses, including murder,” the Shin Bet statement said. 

It added that the stoning took place near the Jewish settlement of Rechalim, close to Rabi’s village of Bidiya in the Israeli-occupied northern West Bank.

A mother of nine, Rabi, 47, suffered a fatal head wound from a rock thrown at her car near the Palestinian city of Nablus on Oct. 12 and died later at a hospital in the city, Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported at the time.

Her husband, who was driving the car at the time, escaped with minor injuries, WAFA said.

Palestinian witnesses and security sources cited by the news agency said the stones were thrown by Israeli settlers.

The Shin Bet did not give the number or ages of suspects held, but said they were members of a Jewish seminary in Rechalim.

Their parents and lawyers have been protesting since the arrests over what they said was their sons’ detention in an undisclosed location without access to lawyers.

Israeli investigations into “Jewish terrorism” — as such cases are often referred to by Israeli media — are highly sensitive.

Israeli authorities have been accused by rights activists of dragging their feet in such cases in comparison to investigations into Palestinian attacks, while far-right Israelis say suspects have undergone coercement and torture.

The Shin Bet said the five detainees, who it did not name, attend a seminary in Rehelim, a neighboring Jewish settlement. They are all under the age of 18 and have not been formally charged.

The Shin Bet said in its statement the detainees had been questioned in accordance with the law.

 

 


Kosovan women returned from Syria face house arrest

Updated 24 April 2019
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Kosovan women returned from Syria face house arrest

  • Four alleged militants, all men, were arrested the moment they were brought to the country
  • The state prosecution said all 32 repatriated women are under investigation

PRISTINA: Kosovo prosecutors have requested the house arrest of 16 women repatriated from Syria, saying they are suspected of joining or taking part as foreign fighters there.

The women appeared on Wednesday in court in Pristina, a day after 10 other women were put under house arrest. None have been charged with a crime.

Four alleged militants, all men, were arrested the moment they were brought to the country.

The women and children were sent to the Foreign Detention Centre in the outskirts of Pristina but were freed to go home after 72 hours.

Ten women were seen entering Pristina Basic Court in a police escort on Tuesday. The court said in a statement later that they had been placed under house arrest on charges of joining foreign armed groups and terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq from 2014 to 2019.

The state prosecution said all 32 repatriated women are under investigation and more of them are expected to appear in front of judges on Wednesday. The prosecution has yet to file charges.

After the collapse of Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq, countries around the world are wrestling with how to handle militants and their families seeking to return to their home countries.

Kosovo's population is nominally 90 percent Muslim, but the country is largely secular in outlook. More than 300 of its citizens travelled to Syria since 2012 and 70 men who fought alongside militant groups were killed.

Police said 30 Kosovan fighters, 49 women and eight children remain in the conflict zones. The government said it plans to bring back those who are still there.

International and local security agencies have previously warned of the risk posed by returning fighters. In 2015, Kosovo adopted a law making fighting in foreign conflicts punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

On Saturday, 110 Kosovar citizens — the four alleged foreign fighters, 32 women and 74 children — were returned to Kosovo with assistance from the United States, the first such move for a European country.

Authorities say there are still 87 Kosovar citizens in Syria.