Three charged with Palestinian’s murder

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Israel has charged three Jews with the kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager whose death set off days of violent protests in Arab areas of Jerusalem and northern Israel.

The three have appeared before court, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. He said the suspects admitted to abducting 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir and setting him on fire. They also re-enacted the murder, Mr Rosenfeld said.

Abu Khdeir was taken on July 2 near his home in east Jerusalem and his charred body was later found in a forest.

Israel’s Shin Bet security service said the suspects, whose names were not released, were motivated by revenge after the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers.

Police are investigating three others for involvement in the killing. They remain under house arrest.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military said it downed a drone launched by Gaza militants, the first time it encountered an unmanned aircraft since the start of its offensive last week, as new Israeli air strikes killed four more Palestinians in the coastal strip.

Israel began its campaign against militants in the Hamas-controlled Gaza last Tuesday, saying it was responding to heavy rocket fire from the densely populated territory. The military says it has launched more than 1,300 air strikes since then, while Palestinian militants have launched nearly 1,000 rockets at Israel.

The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza has said that 172 people died in Israeli air attacks, including dozens of civilians. That is without counting yesterday’s fatalities.

There have been no Israeli deaths as a result of Hamas rocket launches, although several people have been wounded.