2 Palestinians arrested in attack on Israeli settler

The funeral for one-year-old Yonatan Palmer and his father, Asher Palmer on 25 September.

Story highlights

  • Israeli security officials say the two suspects confessed staging the attack
  • Asher Palmer's car crashed after rocks were hurled
  • Several days later, a mosque was burned down and tagged with graffiti as a revenge act
Israeli security officials said Friday two West Bank Palestinians arrested earlier this week confessed that they carried out an attack that killed an Israeli settler and his baby.
Asher Palmer and his year-old son were killed after rocks were thrown at their car near the city of Hebron on September 23, causing a crash in which the car turned over.
The suspects were taken into custody Tuesday in the area of Halul, the security officials said.
Authorities also have arrested another three suspects they accused of taking Palmer's pistol.
Tensions escalated in the aftermath of the attack and police stepped up security in the area this week.
Several days after the attack on Palmer, a mosque in the Bedouin village of Tuba-Zangariyye was set ablaze and its walls vandalized with graffiti. Police said the graffiti read: "Price tag," "revenge" and "Palmer."
"Price tag" is a term frequently used by radical Israeli settlers to denote reprisal attacks against Palestinians in response to moves by the Israeli government to evacuate illegal West Bank outposts.
Israeli police arrested an 18-year-old man in connection with the mosque burning, said National Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
Israeli media described the suspect as a Jewish yeshiva student from the northern West Bank.
Lately "price tag" attacks have also targeted Israeli military forces and police stationed in the West Bank. It is rare for such attacks to occur inside Israel.
Kamal Khatib of the Islamic Movement in northern Israel said the mosque attack showed the extremist atmosphere in the country. The burning of the mosque and the graffiti indicate that "Jewish hands" were behind the attack, he said.
Israeli member of parliament Ahmed Tibi urged both sides not to get drawn into violence, saying that is what extremists want.
"The answer at the moment is to rebuild the mosque," he said.
Israeli police have set up an investigation team and collected evidence in the area, Rosenfeld said.