Israel charges 7 over 'price tag' attacks on Palestinians

2016-04-25 20:06


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Jerusalem - Israeli prosecutors on Monday charged seven young Jews in connection with a wave of so-called "price tag" attacks targeting Palestinians and Arab Israelis and their property, the justice ministry said.

The seven, including a soldier and two minors, allegedly carried out a series of attacks between 2009 and 2013 and in the second half of 2015.

They included torching an inhabited Palestinian home and beating a Palestinian man with sticks, a ministry statement said.

Four of the suspects live in the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Nahliel northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, another is from the Maaleh Efraim settlement and the other two are from Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh.

"The actions targeted innocent people and their property, solely because of their religious or national identity," the ministry statement read.

"The perpetrators strove to sow fear and panic among the Palestinian residents of [the West Bank], while at the same time to convey messages to the Israeli public and security forces."

The seven were being charged with membership of an illegal association, being in possession of and carrying arms and ammunition, damaging and attempting to damage property, racially motivated vandalism, arson and other felonies.

Police announced their arrest last week, describing the cell as "extremist and violent".

Hate crimes

The two minors allegedly threw petrol bombs at a Palestinian home in Mazraa al-Qibliya village last November as family members slept, and in December threw a tear gas grenade at another Palestinian home overnight in the village of Beitillou.

In both cases anti-Arab slogans were scrawled on the walls of the houses.

Members of the group also threw stones at Palestinian cars, torched and vandalised them, according to the charges.

Their actions were allegedly in revenge for attacks against Jews and were described as "price tag" attacks by the justice ministry, a euphemism for Jewish nationalist-motivated hate crimes that generally target Palestinian or Arab Israeli property.

Monday's indictments were a stark reminder of the July 2015 arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma where an 18-month old baby was killed when his family home was firebombed by Jewish extremists.

The boy's parents later died of their injuries.

Two Israelis were charged in January over those attacks.

Read more on:    palestine  |  israel

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