Main suspect in Khdeir revenge murder named

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The name of the main suspect in the revenge murder of a Palestinian teenager from eastern Jerusalem was released.

The suspect is Yosef Haim Ben-David, 29, of the Adam settlement near Jerusalem, who owns an eyewear store in Jerusalem and reportedly has a history of mental problems. His attorneys reportedly will enter a plea of insanity.

The Jerusalem District Court released his name late Sunday night after a gag order was lifted on the suspect’s identity.

Ben-David, who had appealed the release of his name to the public, is accused of beating 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir unconscious and then burning him to death. He and two other suspects, both 16-year-old males — from Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh — told investigators that the slaying was in revenge for the kidnapping and murder last month of three Israeli teens.

The suspects have admitted to the murder and reenacted it for police.

Ben-David, who was committed to a mental hospital in recent months after allegedly attempting to murder his infant daughter, also is charged with attempting to kidnap a 7-year-old boy from eastern Jerusalem a day before the murder of Khdeir.

Khdeir was kidnapped from his eastern Jerusalem neighborhood early on the morning of July 2 and murdered hours later, less than a day after the funerals of Israeli teens Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrach.

Last week, Israel’s Defense Ministry recognized Khdeir as a terror victim.

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