Israeli authorities announce arrests in killing of Arab teen

BY Elisabeth Ponsot  July 6, 2014 at 4:59 PM EST
Israeli security block the entrance to the Petah Tikva Justice court where suspects in the brutal murder of a Palestinian teenager who was burned to death in a suspected revenge killing. are held for a hearing, on July 6, 2014 in the central city of Petah Tikva. Israeli police have arrested a group of Jewish extremists in connection with the kidnap and murder of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli security block the entrance to the Petah Tikva Justice court where suspects in the murder of a Palestinian teenager are held for a hearing on July 6. Credit: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli authorities have arrested a group of suspects in connection to the murder of a Palestinian teenager, whose burned body was found in a forest on Wednesday.

Josef Federman of the Associated Press told NewsHour Weekend that officials said six men are in custody. Federman said the suspects are described as young, Jewish men from the Jerusalem area.

Sixteen-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was abducted from his home, beaten and reportedly burned to death in a case that has spawned violent protests in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem and northern Israel.

Abu Khdeir’s mother, Suha, told the AP the arrests brought her no relief.

“I don’t have any peace in my heart, even if they captured who they say killed my son,” she said. “They’re only going to ask them questions and then release them. What’s the point?”

Israeli officials believe Abu Khdeir’s killers acted out of “nationalistic” motives, likely as retribution for the murders of three Israeli teenagers, who were kidnapped on June 12 and shot to death.

The three teens, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, were abducted in the Israeli occupied West Bank. Their bodies were found 18 days later in an open field, about 15 miles from where they were last seen.

After the youths were found dead, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that the U.S.-designated terrorist organization Hamas was responsible for the murders and would pay.