Three suspects in the murder of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir confessed to killing the Palestinian teen, the Associated Press reports. The men, all of whom are Jewish, reportedly took authorities to the forest where Abu Khdeir’s body was found last week and reenacted the grisly murder, in which they burned the teenager alive.
Three other suspects are being held on suspicion that they were complicit in the murder, according to the Times of Israel, and are unable to meet with lawyers.
Although the suspects are not members of any known terrorist group and apparently acted on their own, they are to face charges of belonging to a terrorist organization, membership in a prohibited organization, kidnapping in order to murder, murder of a minor, conspiracy and theft, possession of arms and ammunition, and carrying out a racially motivated crime.
Abu Khdeir’s murder, which is believed to have been a revenge act for the murders of three Israeli teens, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19, earlier this month, has set off protests and demonstrations across East Jerusalem, where Abu Kheir’s family lives.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the brutal murder and, according to the AP, called Abu Khdeir’s father to express his condolences.
“I would like to express my outrage and that of the citizens of Israel over the reprehensible murder of your son,” a statement quoted Netanyahu as saying.
“We acted immediately to apprehend the murderers. We will bring them to trial and they will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. We denounce all brutal behavior, the murder of your son is abhorrent and cannot be countenanced by any human being,” he said.
Outgoing Israeli President Shimon Peres and his successor, Reuven Rivlin, published an ad in Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot denouncing the murder.
“In the state of Israel, there is no difference between blood and blood,” the two men wrote. “The choice is in our hands: To give in to the destructive worldview posed to us by the racists and the extremists, or to fight it unconditionally; to give in to wild and vicious Muslim or Jewish terrorists — or to put an end to it by all means possible.”
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.