House arrest for Jewish minors held over killing of Palestinian

Palestinians carry the body of 48-year-old mother of eight, Aisha Rabi, who died of her wounds after the car she was travelling in with her husband was hit by stones, during her funeral in the West Bank village of Bidya, near Salfit. (AFP)
Updated 10 January 2019
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House arrest for Jewish minors held over killing of Palestinian

  • Authorities did not confirm their detention until Sunday due to a gag order on details of the case while the investigation continued
  • The remand of the fifth suspect has been extended by another six days

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities on Thursday released to house arrest four of five Jewish minors held on suspicion of involvement in a fatal stone-throwing attack on a Palestinian woman, lawyers and officials said.
The arrests on December 30 were in connection with the killing of Aisha Rabi, who died after stones were thrown at the car she was traveling in with her family in the occupied West Bank on October 12.
Authorities did not confirm their detention until Sunday due to a gag order on details of the case while the investigation continued.
The remand of the fifth suspect has been extended by another six days, Israel’s domestic security agency Shin Bet said.
The lawyers representing the minors argued that their release proved they were innocent.
“These youths, who had absolutely nothing to do with the event, should not have been arrested,” said attorney Adi Kedar of Honenu, a right-wing legal aid organization, vowing to work to have the fifth suspect released.
The Shin Bet, which on Sunday announced an unspecified number of arrests for “serious terrorist offenses, including murder,” rejected claims the youths were mistreated during their investigation.
The five, students at the Pri Haaretz religious seminary in the Rechelim settlement in the West Bank, were arrested “after intelligence efforts connecting them to the death of Rabi,” a mother of nine, the Shin Bet said Thursday.
The Shin Bet noted the four were released after it was decided “the investigation could continue while they were under house arrest and other limiting conditions.”
It also warned of “ongoing efforts” to obstruct the course of the investigation, “including by disseminating information about the probe while slandering the Shin Bet.”
The fatal stoning took place near Rechelim, close to Rabi’s village of Bidiya in the Israeli-occupied northern West Bank.
Rabi was struck on the head in the attack and died later at a hospital in the city of Nablus. Her husband, who was driving the car at the time, escaped with minor injuries.
Palestinian witnesses and security sources cited by official Palestinian news agency WAFA said the stones were thrown by Israeli settlers.
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.


Syria flare-up kills 35 fighters, including 26 pro-regime forces

Updated 49 min 32 sec ago
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Syria flare-up kills 35 fighters, including 26 pro-regime forces

  • Russian-backed regime forces try to retake villages seized by opposition forces and allied fighters
  • The clashes also left 26 pro-regime forces dead in the north of Hama province

 

BEIRUT: At least 10 civilians and 35 combatants, mostly pro-regime forces, were killed on Saturday in clashes and airstrikes that erupted at dawn in northwestern Syria, a war monitor said.

The flare-up came as Russian-backed regime forces tried to retake two villages seized by opposition forces and allied fighters earlier this month, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“Since this morning, the Syrian regime and allied fighters have launched five failed attempts to regain control of Jibine and Tal Maleh in northwestern Hama province,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Syrian regime airstrikes killed nine opposition fighters, the war monitor said.

Ensuing clashes in the north of Hama province left 26 pro-regime forces dead, including eight who were killed in a mine explosion, the Observatory said.

In neighboring Idlib, regime airstrikes killed 10 civilians, including three children, the Observatory said.

The strikes hit the towns of Maaret Al-Numan and Al-Bara as well as the village of Al-Ftira, according to the war monitor.

The Idlib region of some 3 million people is supposed to be protected from a massive regime offensive by a buffer zone deal that Russia and Turkey signed in September.

But it was never fully implemented, as opposition refused to withdraw from a planned demilitarized zone.

In January, the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham alliance led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate extended its administrative control over the region, which includes most of Idlib province as well as adjacent slivers of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo provinces.

The Syrian regime and Russia have upped their bombardment of the region since late April, killing nearly 400 civilians, according to the Observatory.

Turkey said on Friday that it did not accept Russia’s “excuse” that it had no ability to stop the Syrian regime’s continued bombardments in the last opposition bastion of Idlib.

“In Syria, who are the regime’s guarantors? Russia and Iran,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told state news agency Anadolu in a televised interview.

“Thus we do not accept the excuse that ‘We cannot make the regime listen to us’,” he said.

His comments came as Turkey disagreed with Russia earlier this week after Moscow claimed a new cease-fire had been secured in the province following weeks of regime bombardments — a claim that was denied by Ankara.

Syria’s war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with the repression of anti-regime protests.

Russia launched a military intervention in support of the regime in 2015, helping its forces reclaim large parts of the country from opposition fighters and militants.