The DNA of a Jewish minor suspected in the October murder of a Palestinian woman in the West Bank has been found on the rock that hit her car, an Israeli court was told on Wednesday, as a judge extended the suspect's remand through Thursday, when an indictment is expected to be filed.
The teen was arrested in late December on suspicion of a racially motivated murder of 47-year-old Aisha Mohammed Rabi. A gag order imposed on the case prevents the publication of the suspect's name and age, as well as those of four other suspects arrested in early January and released almost a week later, all Israeli settlers.
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Last week, prosecutors had announced that the state intended to indict the teen within five days, but when that period ended, both sides informed the court that the teen had changed his mind and wished to give his own version of events.
“The prosecutor’s office, together with the Israel Police, has operated in the fairest manner and despite the fact that the minor refrained from giving his version of events throughout all of his interrogations, allowed him to have another interrogation…,” the judge wrote.
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“The minor provided a version of events that ostensibly can provide a certain explanation for the main evidence collected in the case, the DNA findings on the rock that caused the death of the deceased.”
The judge also wrote that he initially felt that the minor’s version of events could “open a significant gap in the alleged evidentiary basis that would justify rejecting the state’s request, and releasing the minor under very restrictive conditions.”
But then he concluded that “after studying the response of [the state] together with all of the documentation, I find that at present there is no substantial change regarding the question of the existence of the necessary evidentiary basis for this stage of the proceeding.”
Rabi died in October after stones were thrown at her vehicle near a West Bank checkpoint south of Nablus. A mother of eight, she was reportedly struck in the head with a stone and died shortly after. Her husband was lightly wounded in the incident.