Israel indicts soldiers for attempting to bomb Palestinian home

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JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says its prosecutor has filed indictments against two soldiers who allegedly threw an explosive device at a Palestinian home in the occupied West Bank, a rare case where Israeli troops face serious charges for a offense against Palestinians.

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Prosecutors have charged the two soldiers with manufacturing an explosive device, aggravated intentional assault, intentional damage to property and dismissal from the investigation, the army announced Thursday evening. The court ordered the soldiers to remain in custody until a hearing next month. They were arrested on November 28.

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The indictment says the two defendants acted in revenge for the kidnapping of the body of an Israeli schoolboy in the burning West Bank city of Jenin on November 22.

Palestinian activists in Jenin had snatched the body of Tiran Fero, 17, a member of Israel’s Druze Arab minority, from a local hospital where he was receiving treatment after a car accident. Fero’s father accused activists of removing his son from life support while he was still alive. The Israeli army said he was already dead when the militants took him away.

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The seizure of the boy’s body alarmed the Druze community in Israel. As anger mounted, videos circulated on social media of Druze men threatening revenge against Palestinians. Police said Druze villagers even attacked and tied up three Palestinian laborers in northern Israel.


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Amid the clash over Fero’s body, the two defendants – believed to be Druze soldiers – teamed up with another soldier to assemble an explosive device, the army said Thursday. The soldiers identified a Palestinian house near the West Bank city of Bethlehem as their target and threw stones at it. A few days later, they threw the explosive into the overcrowded house « with the intention of starting a fire in the house », the military added.

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The military said the attack caused no casualties. He said he opened an investigation into the incident following a complaint from the Palestinian owner.

The army said it would issue an indictment against the third soldier in the coming days. The three soldiers have not been named. The military did not comment on the penalties they could face.

Such a rapid military pursuit is highly unusual and underscores the seriousness of the matter. Rights groups have long claimed that Israeli military investigations into the killings of Palestinians reflect a pattern of impunity. Earlier this month, Israeli human rights group Yesh Din reported that Israeli soldiers accused of harming Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip over the past five years have been charged in less than 1% of the 1,260 complaints filed against them.

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Critics have repeatedly accused Israeli forces of using excessive firepower in the West Bank as violence in the occupied territory reaches its highest level in years. The Israeli army carried out almost daily raids in Palestinian towns, killing more than 150 Palestinians. The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed were militants. But young stone throwers protesting the incursions and others not involved in the clashes were also killed.

Meanwhile, Palestinian attacks using knives, bombs and shootings killed 29 Israelis in 2022, soldiers and civilians, the Israeli Foreign Ministry reported.

Most Palestinians were killed in Israeli military raids and fighting in the northern West Bank cities of Jenin and Nablus. On Friday, the Israeli army said it entered Nablus to arrest Ahmed Massari, a wanted 19-year-old Palestinian activist from the Lion’s Den, a new militant group led by young fighters in the city.

Palestinian militants fired at Israeli soldiers and threw rocks and explosive devices at Israeli vehicles, and the Israeli army fired tear gas and live ammunition. The streets were on fire with gunshots and burning tires.

The Palestinian Health Ministry later reported that eight Palestinians were injured by shrapnel from bullets.

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