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Israel releases settlers suspected of killing Palestinian mother

Israeli settlers can be seen in the West Bank on 20 April 2011 [Najeh Hashlamoun/Apaimages]
Israeli settlers can be seen in the West Bank on 20 April 2011 [Najeh Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Israeli authorities yesterday released five Israeli settlers held on suspicion of involvement in the killing of a Palestinian mother last October and placed them under house arrest.

Aisha Muhammad Talal Al-Rabi, 47, a mother of eight children from the Bidya village near Salfit in the northern occupied West Bank, was killed and her husband was injured, after Israeli settlers hurled rocks at their vehicle near the Zaatara checkpoint in Nablus in the northern West Bank.

Israeli authorities arrested the five Israeli settlers on 30 December but only confirmed that they had been detained earlier this week due to a gag order.

According to a statement by Shin Bet, the remand of the fifth Israeli settler has been extended for another six days.

READ: Israel soldiers investigated over attempt to release settler suspects

Shin Bet added that the five, who are students at the Pri Haaretz religious seminary in the Rechelim settlement in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, were arrested “after intelligence efforts connecting them to the death of Al-Rabi.”

“The four were released after it was decided that the investigation could continue while they were under house arrest and other limiting conditions,” Shin Bet added.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas slammed the killing of Aisha by Israeli settlers and called it “a heinous crime that cannot go unpunished.”

OPINION: Israel’s systematic arrest of mothers shows its contempt for Palestinian women

Palestinian towns and villages in the Nablus area are surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements and outposts, many of which are protected by the Israeli military.

The Palestinian government has no jurisdiction over Israelis in the West Bank, and violent acts carried out by Israeli settlers often occur in the presence of Israeli military forces who rarely act to protect Palestinian residents.

Are Israeli settlers really innocent? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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