JERUSALEM – Israeli authorities Thursday formally charged three Jewish suspects with kidnapping and burning to death a Palestinian teenager in revenge for the abduction and slaying of three Israeli teens in the West Bank.
The indictment revealed details of the killing that previously had been withheld under a gag order. It called the killing “cold-blooded” and said it took place after the suspects conducted a “manhunt” for a victim in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
The charred body of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16, was found in a wooded area July 2 after he was forced into a car in his neighborhood of Shuafat in East Jerusalem.
His death set off days of rioting in East Jerusalem neighborhoods and in Israeli Arab towns, where youths faced off against police, burning tires and hurling stones and Molotov cocktails.
The Israeli Defense Ministry announced Thursday that it would recognize Abu Khdeir as a “victim of terrorism,” entitling his family to a monthly government stipend. The payments are routinely made to families of Israelis killed in Palestinian attacks.
The suspects were described in the indictment as an optical shop owner who lives in Adam, a West Bank settlement near Jerusalem, and two of his relatives who are ultra-Orthodox Jews, one of whom studies in a yeshiva, or religious seminary, and another who dropped out of yeshiva studies. Israeli media reports said the two are minors.
According to the indictment, the suspects resolved to avenge the kidnapping and slaying last month of the three Israeli teenagers who were abducted as they hitched a ride home from their religious schools in the West Bank. Their bodies were found June 30, 18 days after their disappearance.