Druze IDF troops charged with hurling explosive at West Bank home in revenge attack
Soldiers stationed in Bethlehem area allegedly targeted random Palestinian after teenage Druze car crash victim Tiran Fero was seized by gunmen in Jenin a week earlier
Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.
Military prosecutors on Thursday filed an indictment against two soldiers accused of hurling an explosive device at a Palestinian home near Bethlehem in the West Bank last month, in an apparent revenge attack over the kidnapping of a body of an Israeli Druze teenager.
In the late hours of November 27, the soldiers from a tank unit that is deployed in the Bethlehem area targeted a seemingly random home in a nearby Palestinian village with a makeshift bomb before fleeing back to their base, according to the charge sheet. Several days earlier, they hurled stones at the home, the indictment read.
A third soldier who aided the pair in building the explosive device would be charged in the coming days, the Israel Defense Forces said.
The two prime suspects are from the Druze community and the third is Jewish, the Kan public broadcaster reported. Their full identities were barred from publication.
There were no injuries in the attack, but slight damage was caused by a fire as a result of the bomb.
According to the indictment, the soldiers committed the attack over the case of Tiran Fero, a Druze teenager whose body was seized by Palestinian gunmen from a West Bank hospital after a car crash a week prior.
The snatching of Fero’s body angered many members of the Druze community. Before the body was returned, thousands demonstrated in Fero’s hometown Daliyat al-Karmel and at a protest march blocking off a major highway.
The indictment against the soldiers included charges of intentionally damaging property with a racist motive, hurling stones, building illegal weaponry, and aggravated assault, as the Palestinian family was at home during the attack.
One of the Palestinians whose home was targeted reported the attack to the army.
The soldiers were also charged with attempting to prevent another soldier on their base from reporting the incident to superiors.
The trio will remain in custody at least until January 19, when a hearing is scheduled.
Fero was critically injured in a car crash in Jenin on November 22, and taken to the Ibn Sina hospital in the Palestinian city. He died shortly thereafter, and his body was snatched by unidentified gunmen, according to the IDF and Palestinian media reports.
His family has claimed that Palestinian gunmen detached him from life support and grabbed him from the hospital, while the military and a senior defense source indicated that the teen was already dead when he was taken.
Tiran’s body was returned to Israel some 30 hours after being taken.
The Jenin area has been seen as a major hotspot for terror in recent months and the Palestinian Authority is believed to be losing control of the region.