Israel accuses soldiers of trying to bomb Palestinian homes

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military says its prosecutors have indicted two soldiers for allegedly throwing an explosive device at a Palestinian home in the occupied West Bank, part of the Israeli army’s A rare case of facing serious charges for crimes against Palestinians.

Prosecutors charged the two soldiers with creating an explosive device, aggravated assault, willful damage to property and an impeachment inquiry, the military announced late Thursday. The court ordered the soldiers to remain in custody until a hearing next month. They were arrested on 28 November.

The indictment said the two defendants acted in retaliation for the November 22 abduction of the body of an Israeli schoolchild in the West Bank hotspot city of Jenin.

Palestinian militants in Jenin snatched from a local hospital the body of 17-year-old Tiran Fero, a member of Israel’s Druze Arab minority, who was being treated after a car accident. Fero’s father accused the militants of taking his son off a life support machine while he was still alive. The Israeli military said he was dead when the militants took him away.

The confiscation of the boy’s body has sparked panic among Israel’s Druze community. Video of the Druze men threatening reprisals against Palestinians circulated on social media as anger mounted. Druze villagers even attacked and kidnapped three Palestinian laborers in northern Israel, police said.

During the standoff over Filo’s body, the two accused – reportedly Druze soldiers – teamed up with another soldier to assemble an explosive device, the military said Thursday. Soldiers targeted and threw stones at a Palestinian home near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Days later, they threw explosives into the crowded house “with the aim of starting a fire at home,” the military added.

The extent of the damage or casualties is not yet known. Palestinian media has no details about the targeted families.

The military said it would charge a third soldier in the coming days. The three soldiers were not named. The military did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the penalties they might face.

Such a swift military prosecution is highly unusual and underscores the seriousness of the case. Human rights groups have long claimed that Israel’s military investigation into killings of Palestinians reflects a pattern of impunity. Earlier this month, Israeli human rights group Yesh Din reported that out of 1,260 complaints filed against Israeli soldiers accused of harming Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip over the past five years, fewer than 1% of complaints are prosecuted.

Critics have repeatedly accused the Israeli army of using excessive firepower in the West Bank as violence in the occupied territory reaches its highest level in years. Israeli forces carried out attacks on Palestinian towns on an almost daily basis, killing more than 150 Palestinians. The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed were militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting the invasion and others not involved in the confrontation were also killed.

Meanwhile, Palestinian attacks using knives, bombs and gunfire have killed 29 Israelis in 2022, including soldiers and civilians, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

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

Palestinian militants fired at Israeli soldiers, threw stones and explosive devices at Israeli vehicles, and the Israeli military fired tear gas and live ammunition. The streets were filled with gunshots and burning tires.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health later reported that eight Palestinians had been injured by shrapnel from the bullets.

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Associated Press writer Majdi Mohammed in Nablus in the West Bank contributed to this report.

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