Five Israeli Druze were arrested for kidnapping three Arabs from Hebron, Israeli security officials announced on Thursday as charges were filed in Haifa District Court.
The suspects, from the Druze village of Yarka in northern Israel, are accused of kidnapping three Arabs at gunpoint from a compound where workers were staying in November.
The five then took the Hebron Arabs to an isolated area in the trunk of a car, forced them to make telephone contact with their family members and inform them that they had been kidnapped, then beat their captives. During the assault, the suspects told their victims that this was revenge for the kidnapping of Tiran Fero.
Fero, an 18-year-old student from the Druze village of Daliyat al-Karmel was hospitalized in Jenin after being critically injured in a car crash. Palestinian Authority Arab gunmen, apparently believing Fero was an undercover Israeli soldier, abducted him from the hospital. Fero died after being disconnected from his life support equipment.
Tensions between Palestinian Authority Arab and Israel’s Druze community of around 150,000 escalated as did fears of a large-scale Israeli military operation in Jenin to retrieve Fero’s body.
The captors released the Arabs after beating them.
The suspects were identified as Ali Fathi Ali Atallah, Karim Yosef Salim Atallah and Wael Fakhri Muhammad Atallah, all in their twenties. The other suspects are minors.
An investigation by the Israeli Police and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) uncovered that the suspects conspired to carry out the kidnapping after seeing posts on social media about Fero’s abduction and death.
The investigation also revealed that the suspects conspired ahead of time after viewing posts on social networks about the kidnapping of the Druze youth, equipped themselves with clubs, knives, axes and face veils before looking for victims.