Israel Arrests 6 Jewish Youths In Teen’s Death

July 6, 2014

This post was updated at 4:10 p.m. ET.

Israel has arrested six suspects in connection with last week’s killing of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Meanwhile, an American cousin of the victim who was reportedly beaten by Israeli police has been sentenced to nine days home detention.

“There was a hearing today at 11:15 AM this morning (July 6) where it was agreed by the judge that Tariq [Abu Khdeir] would be released under house arrest while the criminal investigation is conducted,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

She said that the U.S. Consulate General in Israel was at that hearing.

His family was asked to post bail, and “Tariq is restricted to his uncle’s home in the Beit Hanina area of East Jerusalem. He is also permitted to make arrangements to visit medical facilities if needed,” Psaki said.

“If the investigation is concluded promptly, Mr. Khudeir should be able to return to Florida as planned with his family later this month,” she said.

The announcement came on the same day that Israeli media reported the arrests of suspects in the killing of Tariq’s cousin and Reuters, citing an Israeli security source, said the killing of the boy, who was reportedly burned alive, was done out of “nationalist motives.”

Israeli police and the Shin Bet security service say “several Jewish youths have been arrested” in connection with Abu Khadier’s killing. Another Israeli official tells NPR that six “young males” were arrested.

The official says the suspects are from Jerusalem, the nearby city of Beit Shemesh and Adam, a West Bank settlement near Jerusalem. He said police had located the car they used to kidnap Abu Khdeir and that a security camera had caught parts of the abduction.

The day before Abu Khdeir’s kidnapping, there had been another attempt to kidnap a young boy and authorities believe the two incidents are linked, the official said.

Daniel Estrin, reporting for NPR from Jerusalem, says: “Palestinians accuse Israeli extremists of kidnapping and killing the teen in revenge for the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the Israeli occupied West Bank.”

The Associated Press reports:

“Police have been investigating various avenues in the teen’s death, including criminal or personal motives. But an official said Sunday that evidence points toward Jewish extremists.

“The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.”

The controversy over Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s death, which has sparked violent clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian youths in East Jerusalem, has been complicated by the beating and arrest of the American teen.

Amateur video purporting to show Israeli police beating Tariq has emerged, as well as photos of the American teen showing a badly beaten and swollen face.

The U.S. State Department said on Saturday that it is “profoundly troubled” by Tariq’s initial arrest and reports of his beating, language that it repeated in Sunday’s statment.

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