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Suspect in killing of Palestinian to stay in custody

Judge Alexander Ron ruled that Yehiel Indore would remain jailed for at least one more day.

Yehiel Indore arrives for a hearing at the Jerusalem District Court, Aug. 14, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Yehiel Indore arrives for a hearing at the Jerusalem District Court, Aug. 14, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

The Jerusalem District Court on Monday rejected an appeal to release Yehiel Indore, the prime suspect in the killing of Palestinian Kosai Ma’atan during clashes near the Arab village of Burqa in Samaria.

Judge Alexander Ron agreed with a lower court that Indore would remain in custody at least until Tuesday to allow for the completion of the preliminary police investigation.

“The self-defense claim is legitimate, but beyond that, I see no reason for this court to intervene,” Ron stated in his ruling.

Indore’s attorney, Nati Rom, had argued that his client was suffering from pains and cognitive difficulties resulting from the head injury he sustained during the Aug. 4 clashes.

In the incident, hundreds of Arabs from Burqa confronted a Jewish shepherd grazing his flock near the village.

According to Rom, dozens of Jews arrived at the scene, including his client, to protect the shepherd. Indore fired a warning shot but was then surrounded, and only shot to kill after he was struck in the head by a rock.

Speaking from his hospital bed last week as he recovered from surgery for a major skull fracture, Indore said he had never experienced “such severe danger to life” before.

“We tried to escape the whole time [but] they attacked us from several directions. People around me recited viduy [confession prayers] and Shema Yisrael because they thought it would be their death,” Channel 14 quoted Indore as saying.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement following the clashes: “Verbal confrontations ensued which were followed by the hurling of rocks by both sides, and the firing of fireworks by Palestinians.

“During the confrontation, Israeli civilians fired at the Palestinians. As a result of the confrontation, a Palestinian was killed, four others were injured, and a Palestinian vehicle was found burned. Several Israeli civilians were injured by rocks,” the military said.

According to a new remand request filed by police on Friday, prosecutors no longer suspect Indore of a nationalistic (i.e., terror) motive. However, he is still being charged with causing death with intent or indifference (an offense equivalent to murder), riot resulting in damage, conspiracy to commit a crime and obstruction of justice.

Monday’s appeal hearing marked Indore’s first appearance in court, having been released from the hospital into police custody on Sunday.

“The district court did not dismiss the self-defense claim, and we really hope this paved the road for his release tomorrow at the magistrate’s court,” Rom said following the ruling. “We are sorry he has to stay in detention even one day and hope he will be released immediately.”

Elisha Yered, who was accused of interfering with a police investigation by taking Indore’s gun back to his home following the shooting, was released to house arrest on Aug. 9.

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