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Middle east

Police arrest settler accused of murdering Palestinians

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-02

Israeli police say they have arrested a West Bank settler suspected of having carried out hate attacks against Palestinians, missionaries and gays.

AFP - Israeli police have arrested a Jewish settler suspected of having murdered two Palestinians and carrying out hate attacks against missionaries and gays, police said on Sunday.

The suspect, an immigrant from the United States identified as 37-year-old Jack Teitel, was arrested last month, Jerusalem police chief Aharon Frenkel revealed at a press conference.

Describing Teitel as a lone wolf, Frenkel said he was suspected of killing two Palestinians in the late 1990s while visiting Israel as a tourist. He was also believed to be behind a string of bomb attacks since 2006.

He has confessed to the murder of a Palestinian taxi-driver in east Jerusalem and a shepherd in the West Bank, saying the murders were to avenge Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel, according to police.

Teitel is also alleged to have placed a bomb near a convent outside Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem, two year ago, wounding a Palestinian.

In another bomb attack, a 15-year-old boy was seriously wounded when a device was concealed in a parcel sent to his parents, members of a Jewish sect which embraces Jesus.

Another bomb wounded a leading left-wing Israeli professor, Zeev Sternhell, while two other attacks targeted police stations, Frenkel said.

He was arrested while putting up "Death to sodomites" posters and confessed to bombing the police stations "to divert police from protecting gay pride parades," Frenkel said.

Teitel, a father of four, is a resident of the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deplored the presence "among us of a minority which is not ready to accept democracy and the state of law," in a statement issued by his office.

"This minority represents only a small marginal group but we have been seen the extent of damage that an assassin can cause," he said, referring to the 1995 gunning down of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin by a rightwing extremist.

Settler leaders condemned the acts as "serious and forbidden, morally and legally."

Leah Oritz, the mother of the wounded boy, welcomed his capture.

"We are horrified by the fact that there are elements of Israeli society, Jews who feel justified in taking the lives of other Jews because of their beliefs," she said.

Date created : 2009-11-02

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