Two minors have been found guilty of the kidnapping and murder of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir. The third suspect has had his verdict delayed after a last minute insanity plea.
A court in Jerusalem convicted two Israelis on Monday over the 2014 death of a Palestinian teenager. The incident, seen as revenge for the earlier killings of three Israeli young men in the West Bank, is part of what touched off last year’s Gaza War.
Sixteen-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was abducted outside his East Jerusalem home on July 2. Just hours later, his burned corpse was discovered in a nearby forest.
His killing came less than a month after Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah were similarly abducted and killed on their way home in the occupied West Bank.
Prelude to conflict
Palestinian protests (pictured above) following Abu Khdeir’s death escalated into violence, preceding a full-blown military conflict between Israeli security forces and the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The Jerusalem court convicted two minors, but conviction of the suspected ringleader, 30-something Yosef Haim Ben-David, was delayed after his lawyers submitted a new psychiatric appraisal that claimed Ben-David was seriously mentally incapacitated and therefore had no criminal responsibility.
Speaking to Israeli Army Radio, Abu Khdeir’s father Hussein called the verdict “a lie,” denouncing the trial as a whole.
Two suspects in the murders of the Isreali teens died in a shootout with police in September 2014. A third suspect, Hamas member Hussam Qawasmeh, was found guilty of their murders in January of this year and given three life sentences.