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Israel indicts soldiers for trying to bomb Palestinian home



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JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says its prosecutor has filed an indictment against two soldiers accused of throwing an explosive device at a Palestinian home in the occupied West Bank, a rare instance of military action. Israel faces serious charges of crimes against Palestinians.

Prosecutors charged the two soldiers with building an explosive device, aggravated intentional assault, intentionally damaging property and charged the investigation, the military announced late Thursday. The court ordered the soldiers to be detained until a hearing next month. They were arrested on November 28.

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

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

The arrest of the boy’s body caused alarm in Israel’s Druze community. As anger ran high, videos went viral on social media of Druze men threatening to take revenge on the Palestinians. Police said the villagers of Druze even attacked and tied up 3 Palestinian laborers in northern Israel.

Amid an impasse over Fero’s body, two defendants – believed to be Druze soldiers – teamed up with another soldier to assemble an explosive device, the military said on Thursday. The soldiers identified a Palestinian house near the West Bank city of Bethlehem as their target and threw rocks at it. Days later, they threw explosives at the crowded house “with the intention of causing a fire in the house,” the military added.

The extent of the damage or any casualties is unclear. There are no details about the target family in the Palestinian media.

The military said it would file an indictment against the third soldier in the coming days. The three soldiers were not named. The Army did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the penalties it may face.

Such swift military prosecution is highly unusual and underlines the seriousness of the incident. Human rights groups have long alleged that Israeli military investigations into the killings of Palestinians reflect a pattern of impunity. In the first day of this month, Israeli human rights group Yesh Din reported that Israeli soldiers accused of harming Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip over the past five years have been prosecuted in less than 1% of the 1,260 complaints filed against them.

Critics have repeatedly accused Israeli forces of using excessive firepower in the West Bank as violence in the occupied territory reached its highest level in years. The Israeli military has waged near-daily attacks on Palestinian cities and towns, killing more than 150 Palestinians. The Israeli military said most of the Palestinians killed were militants. But the youth threw stones against the intrusions and others do not participate in confrontations was also killed.

Meanwhile, Palestinian knife, bomb and shooting attacks have killed 29 Israelis by 2022, both soldiers and civilians, the Israeli Foreign Ministry reported.

Most of the Palestinians were killed in Israeli army attacks and skirmishes in the northern West Bank cities of Jenin and Nablus. On Friday, the Israeli military said it entered Nablus to arrest Ahmed Massari, a 19-year-old Palestinian fighter wanted from the Lion’s Den, a new militant group led by young fighters from the city.

Palestinian militants fired at Israeli soldiers, hurled rocks and explosives at Israeli vehicles, and the Israeli military used tear gas and live ammunition. The street was ablaze with gunfire and burning tires.

The Palestinian Health Ministry later reported that eight Palestinians were injured by flying shrapnel.

Associated Press writer Majdi Mohammed of Nablus, West Coast, contributed to this report.

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