Two Ramallah residents have been arrested for participating in the 2000 Ramallah lynching of two IDF reservists, security officials announced Thursday. The arrests were made after defense forces uncovered a large Hamas terror cell in the Ramallah and Binyamin districts of the West Bank.
Ibrahim Taufik Maadi, 51, and Yasser Ibrahim Mohammed Hatab, 40, were arrested after confessing to their involvement in the brutal murders of Yossi Avrahami and Vadim Nurzhitz.
The two suspects were charged at the Judea Military Court on Sunday, but news of their arrests was only cleared for release Thursday. The victims’ families were notified before the arrests were publicized.
“The arrest of the two for involvement in the lynch that occurred in 2000 shows yet again that even after 12 years, security forces are working to bring all those involved to justice,” a Shin Bet spokesperson said.
The murders of Avrahami and Nurzhitz occurred at the start of the second Intifada at the Palestinian Authority’s Ramallah police station, where they were taken after they accidentally entered Ramallah. A crowd of rioters stormed the building and the soldiers were beaten and stabbed to death. The mob then dragged the soldiers’ mutilated bodies to al-Manara Square in the center of Ramallah.
One of the men involved in the killing, Aziz Salha, was pictured at a second-floor window of the police station after the lynching, cheering and waving his bloodied hands. He was arrested by Israel in 2001 and sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal in 2011.