An Israeli court has found two Jewish defendants guilty of the 2014 murder of a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem, but held off on formally convicting a third man pending a psychological review, local media said.
Prosecutors said the three, two of whom were minors, had confessed to abducting, bludgeoning and burning Mohammed Abu Khudair in what they described as revenge for the killing days earlier of three Israeli youths by Hamas militants.
Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, was abducted and killed on July 2, 2014, weeks after the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.
The incidents touched off Israeli-Palestinian violence culminating in the seven-week Gaza war.
The incidents were part of a spiral of violence that led to a 50-day war in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Palestinian militants.
The war killed more than 2,200 people, making 2014 the bloodiest year of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to the United Nations.
Sentencing for the two who were convicted was set for January 13, while a hearing was scheduled for December 20 for the third defendant, Yosef Haim Ben-David, from the Adam settlement in the West Bank.
The 31-year-old, viewed as the ringleader, was found to have committed the crime, but the court held off on convicting him after his lawyers submitted a report in recent days arguing his mental state meant he was not responsible for his actions.
Abu Khdeir’s father denounced the delay in the verdict for the man accused of being the ringleader and called for the trio’s houses to be demolished, as Israel does for Palestinian attackers.
“The court behaves one way with Arabs and another way with Jews,” Hussein Abu Khdeir told reporters outside the court, calling the last-minute psychiatric report by Ben-David’s lawyers a “trick” and asking why it was not submitted earlier.
Topics: unrest-conflict-and-war, murder-and-manslaughter, israel, palestinian-territory-occupied