Five Israeli teenagers have been arrested after the deadly stoning of a Palestinian woman and mother of nine on Oct. 12 in the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian woman, Aisha Mohammed Rabi, 47, was reportedly driving in a car with her husband and two of her children when she was struck in the head with a stone. She died shortly after, Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, made public Sunday.
The suspects are all students at Pri Haaretz, a yeshiva high school for Orthodox boys in Rehelim, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, according to The New York Times. They were arrested on suspicion of carrying out “serious terror offenses.”
The woman’s husband, Yaqoub Rabi, said at the time of the deadly attack that he thought the culprits were Jewish settlers after he heard them speaking Hebrew. (RELATED: Investigation Into Drive-By Shooting Of Jazmine Barnes Has ‘Taken A New Direction’)
“I don’t have any doubt it was the settlers,” he told Israeli news outlet Haaretz at the time of the attack, adding “there were six or seven of them, and it was clear that they were young. In such a place and time, no young Palestinian would dare stand there.”
The students and suspects are also accused of other terror offenses, according to Israeli media, and have not been given legal counsel or been allowed to contact their family members since their arrests.
Authorities are allowed to detain and interrogate terrorism suspects under Israeli law for up to three weeks without lawyers present, The Washington Post reported.
Activists drove from the settlement of Yitzhar to Rehelim the Saturday morning after the Friday Oct. 12 stoning, and reportedly coached the students on how to prepare for Shin Bet interrogations, according to Shin Bet.
Israeli officials said the trip would’ve caused suspicion given that driving is forbidden on the Sabbath.
The group of “far-right” activists were reportedly authorized to violate the Jewish law by two prominent settler rabbis in the Yitzhar settlement, according to The Times of Israel.
While Israeli media reported that the suspects have not engaged with their lawyers yet, the Times reported that lawyers met with three of the suspects Saturday night.
“As we have asserted from the start, our clients are not connected in any way to the case,” said the three lawyers, Adi Keidar and Nati Rom of the Israeli Zionist legal aid group Honenu, and Itamar Ben Gvir.
“Our clients underwent trying days and suffered the extremely inappropriate conduct of the Shin Bet interrogators.”
Rabbi Haim Druckman, a prominent settler leader, posted a video Saturday calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to get involved and help release the teenagers.
“If there is any problem, it is proper to interrogate them just as anyone else in the state of Israel is interrogated,” he said. “But in no uncertain terms they should not be in the basements of the Shin Bet. They are not terrorists.”
The Shin Bet, responding to the video in a Sunday statement, acknowledged what it called a repeated effort to “slander” and “delegitimize” the agency.
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