Three Israelis in Custody on Suspicion of Murdering Arab Cabbie

Three young Israelis — a policeman, a soldier and a woman student at the Hebrew University — were remanded in custody for 15 days by a Jerusalem magistrates court today on suspicion of murdering an Arab taxi driver, Hamis Tutanji, on a West Bank road last April 23.

The trio, arrested over the weekend, were identified today as Danny Eisenman, 26, a police officer who lives in Maale Adumim in the West Bank; Gil Fuchs, 20, a soldier on active duty; and Michal Hillel, 24, a student. Fuchs and Hillel are Jerusalem residents.

The magistrate said the suspects confessed to the crime, which occurred four days after a Jewish taxi driver, David Caspi, was murdered, apparently by Arabs, and reconstructed their actions for police cameras. He said he ordered their detention while the police expand the investigation.

According to police accounts, the murder of Tutanji, was in retaliation for the slaying of Caspi. The suspects got together at a Jerusalem pub on Saturday, April 20, and agreed that if the authorities were unable to cope with the murder of Jews in the West Bank, they would undertake counter-terrorist activities on their own to deter Arab terrorists on the principle “an eye for an eye,” the police said. They said the suspects appear not to be part of a new Jewish underground network in the territory.

If the police account is correct, Tutanji was selected at random from among Arab cab drivers. With Eisenman and Hillel as passengers, he was driving from Jerusalem to Maale Adumim when Fuchs, in uniform, flagged him down and, after ascertaining from his identity papers that he was Arab, shot him through the head with his Israel Defense Force-issue M-16 automatic rifle.

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