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Four teen suspects in Jewish rock-throwing terror case released to house arrest

Suspects assigned to six days of house arrest and ordered not to contact each other • Shin Bet refutes allegations of illegal interrogation tactics • Security forces raid yeshivah in Rechelim, issue written summons to 30 students to testify in case.

Israelis protest at the entrance to the Israeli settlement of Rehelim against the Jewish youth suspected in the killing of a Palestinian woman last year, Jan. 8, 2019. Photo by Ofer Meir/Flash90.
Israelis protest at the entrance to the Israeli settlement of Rehelim against the Jewish youth suspected in the killing of a Palestinian woman last year, Jan. 8, 2019. Photo by Ofer Meir/Flash90.

Four of the five teenagers suspected of involvement in a rock-throwing attack on a Palestinian car traveling on Highway 60 that killed Aisha al-Rawbi have been released to house arrest.

The Lod Magistrate’s Court on Thursday ordered the suspects to remain under house arrest for six days, during which they are not allowed to contact anyone involved in the case. The court extended the remand of the fifth suspect for an additional six days.

Attorney Chai Haver from the Honenu legal defense organization, which represents settlers and right-wing activists, expressed disappointment that one suspect remained in custody and repeated allegations that the Shin Bet was using illegal interrogation tactics against the teens.

“We demand a probe into how the Shin Bet … interrogates innocents so harshly, while totally ignoring their pleas and the pleas of their families,” said Haver.

The Shin Bet security agency said that “since the arrests, there has been an ongoing attempt by interested parties to interfere in the investigation, including spreading false information about the manner in which the interrogations are being conducted, which slanders the Shin Bet and its employees. The Shin Bet underscores that the organization will not be deterred and will continue to work determinedly against anyone involved in any act of terrorism whatsoever,” the agency said.

In a related development, security forces raided the Pri Haaretz Yeshiva in the Samaria settlement of Rechelim on Wednesday night and issued summons for some 30 more students at the yeshivah to give evidence in the case. They are not suspects in the attack at this time.

The Israel Police issued a statement confirming that the rock-throwing attack was under investigation as an act of terrorism, and that most details of the case were under a gag order.

“Naturally, we will not provide details on the investigations currently under way,” the police said, adding that the investigation had a single goal: to discover the truth and bring everyone involved to justice.

The Oct. 13 attack, investigators say, targeted a Palestinian car, causing it to veer off the road and crash. Al-Rawbi, 47, from the Arab village of Badi and a mother of eight, suffered a fatal head injury. Her husband, Aykube, survived.

According to Honenu, witnesses to the raid reported that the police had entered the yeshivah study hall and asked for the names of each student. Witnesses said that security forces issued each student a written summons to appear before the Ariel police.

Attorney and right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir called the police handing out summons inside an education institute a “new low in the conduct of the police and the Shin Bet [security agency] in this matter.”

Ben-Gvir said that the raid violated Israeli laws on police conduct when dealing with minors and called the action “brutal.”

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