Othman Nasser
Othman Nasser, the murdered teen. Photo by Panet
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The battered body of a teenage boy was discovered yesterday morning near the road between Arabeh and Dir Hana, in the Lower Galilee. The victim was later identified as Arabeh resident Othman Nasser, 14. Two suspects, also minors, have been arrested, and police are expected to announce today that the case has been solved. A gag order has been imposed to prohibit publication of details of the investigation.

Nasser's body was found by a Dir Hana man in a roadside olive grove. Police said the stab wounds in the body clearly pointed to murder.

Villagers told reporters yesterday that Nasser knew the suspects, and that his murder was presumably the result of a dispute between them.

One man told Haaretz that the father of one of the suspects turned in his son to local police, leading to the rapid arrest of both boys.

Members of Nasser's family confirmed that he knew the suspects and said one was a friend. One relative, Dr. Ahmed Nasser, told Haaretz that on Wednesday night Othman told his parents he was going out with friends and might spend the night on his grandfather's farmland.

Family members yesterday morning rushed to the place where the body was found after learning that a teenager had been murdered. They identified the body as Othman.

"This has been a terrible shock not only to the family but to the whole village," Ahmed Nasser said. Acting Arabeh Local Council head Nizar Cana'neh called an extraordinary council session to discuss how to calm the situation.

"It's an unprecedented tragedy," Cana'neh said. "All three families - the victim's and the suspects' - are good families who were not involved in a dispute. Clearly this was a personal matter among the boys themselves. We are waiting for the end of the investigation and will act to calm things down," Cana'neh said.

The funeral is tentatively scheduled for noon today. Arabeh's imams have decided to dedicate their sermons for Friday's prayer service to the murder and its implications, with emphasis on the importance of reducing violence.