Three arrested on suspicion of killing a Palestinian during Oct. 7 Hamas invasion

Partial gag order on details of case involving three Israeli civilians; two released under restrictive conditions, third to be held until end of legal proceedings

Israeli security seen next to burnt cars at the entrance to the Gaza border community of Kibbutz Be'eri, October 9, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Israeli security seen next to burnt cars at the entrance to the Gaza border community of Kibbutz Be'eri, October 9, 2023. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Three Israeli civilians, who are not members of any security forces, were recently detained on suspicion of killing a Palestinian man on October 7 and stealing weaponry from Israeli troops, police revealed for publication on Thursday.

While the specifics of the incident have been barred from publication due to a court-issued gag order, details were partially reported by Hebrew media, much of it unsourced, after the Tel Aviv District Court partially lifted the order. Alleged details of the case have varied in several Hebrew media reports.

According to reports, on October 7 — as thousands of Hamas-led terrorists stormed southern Israel in a shock assault — the three suspects made their way to the Gaza border communities to join the fighting there.

According to Walla, the chief suspect, who is still detained, is alleged to have seized a Palestinian whom he identified as an operative in Hamas’s elite Nukhba force, interrogated him, and executed him at the end of the interrogation.

According to reports, the suspect has said he never seized or interrogated a Palestinian, and maintains that the alleged terrorist was alive when he transferred him to security forces.

Ynet reported that two of the three suspects arrived at the front lines unarmed and stole weapons from the bodies of slain IDF soldiers. One of the suspects was reportedly also connected to a separate case in which a man was charged with stealing weapons from IDF bases in the aftermath of October 7 by impersonating other people.

Israeli soldiers at a staging area near the Israeli-Gaza border, October 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Of the three suspects connected to the suspected murder of a Palestinian man, one is being held until the end of legal proceedings for weapon offenses, while the other two were released under “restrictive conditions,” police said on Thursday evening.

The police statement came after the Tel Aviv District Court partially lifted the gag order on the case that had been in place for several weeks.

Hebrew media reported that the still-detained suspect had requested the gag order be removed, a decision opposed by the Israel Police, which intends to petition the High Court to restore the order.

Police have also reportedly petitioned the High Court to re-arrest the other two suspects after the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court ordered their release, and the District Court rejected the police appeal on the matter.

Outside the Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday, protesters rallied in favor of the suspects, whom they commended for what they called the three individuals’ bravery on October 7, Ynet reported.

Far-right lawmaker Almog Cohen, of the Otzma Yehudit party, who has for months called for the case to be made public, welcomed the court’s decision, saying the prosecutor was making a “perverted use of its authority” in requesting the gag order on the details of the case.

In a post on X, Cohen referred to one of the suspects — whom security forces have strongly denied was on any active duty on October 7 — as a “warrior who jumped into action on October 7 and saved lives.”

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