Settler arrested for string of killings, bombings
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israeli police arrested a West Bank settler last month for a string of killings and murder plots, including the slaying of two Palestinians, according to reports on Sunday after a gag order was lifted.
An immigrant from the US, Yaakov Teitel, 37, was arrested in Jerusalem on 7 October. According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Teitel confessed to authorities to shooting to death a Palestinian shepherd south of Hebron in 1997 and killing an East Jerusalem taxi driver the same year.
Teitel is also suspected to have carried out a series of bomb attacks, including one that seriously wounded a teenager from a Messianic Jewish family in the settlement of Ariel, and another that lightly wounded liberal Hebrew University historian Zeev Sternhell.
He also was also allegedly responsible for a blast that damaged a police car at the time of a Gay Pride Parade.
He even claimed during his questioning to involvement in the attack on a gay-lesbian youth club in Tel Aviv in August, in which two people were killed. Israeli security officials said however that there is not sufficient evidence to link him to the shooting.
During a search of his home, police discovered rifles, handguns and explosive materials; they were unable, however, to find the gun which he allegedly used to kill the Palestinians, according to the newspaper Haaretz.
Teitel, a resident of the northern West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel, near Nablus, was born in the US state of Florida and began travelling to Israel and the West Bank in the 1990s before immigrating to Israel in 2000.
A profile in Haaretz states that Teitel became involved in the “Hilltop youth” subculture of the Israeli settler movement, which called for radical grassroots mobilization.
After the March 1997 shooing of Palestinian shepherd Issa Jibril, Teitel told authorities that he had come to the country with the specific aim of shooting Palestinians in revenge for suicide bombings.
After learning of the arrest, medical worker Ayed Jibril recounted to Ma’an the killing of his father, Issa Jibril. The shooting took place on 8 March 1997 in the village of Ad-Derat, near the Israeli settlements of Susiya, Carmiel, and Ma’on, in the hills south of Hebron.
“A settlers’ car drove up close to my father and shot and killed him,” he said in a phone interview. “I was herding the sheep. My father was heading toward me and was taken by surprise by a settler who shot him.”
“The Israeli police were at the scene and took the body for an autopsy in [Jerusalem police medical facility] Abu Kbir and carried out an investigation,” he added.
Ayed Jibril also called on the Israeli government to immediately issue the harshest sentence on the man who killed his father.