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2 Israeli Youths Suspected of Killing Palestinian Farmer

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Two Israeli youths from a home for troubled children near Hebron have been detained on suspicion of killing a Palestinian on a West Bank road.

According to the police, the two youths stuck a wooden plank out the window of their van, hitting a Palestinian farmer, Abdel Majid Abu Turki, 47, as they drove past him.

“We understand that this could have been some kind of prank, which ended tragically,” said the director of Beit Haggai, the school for troubled youth attended by the two suspects. “Abu Turki worked here, he was our neighbor. As soon as we learned of the incident, we went with the youths to the police to report what happened. Here at Beit Haggai we fully condemn this incident.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the crime “horrific,” telling reporters that “justice would be done.”

The names of the two youths were not released because they are minors. Police said a third suspect, the driver of the vehicle, was released after it was concluded that he was not involved in the incident.

“I believe this was an accident, and not any sort of premeditated murder,” Naftali Wurtzburger, the lawyer for the two youths, told reporters at the courthouse Wednesday.

Palestinians denounced the crime as a further example of Jewish settler incitement against Arabs.

“This was no prank,” said Ahmed Tibi, an Israeli Arab adviser to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. “This was murder, directly specifically against Arabs. Abu Turki was singled out because of his Arab beard, his Arab clothing, his whole appearance as an Arab.”

Aharon Domb, spokesman for the council of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said the perpetrators of the crime “must be punished to the full extent of the law.”

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