Monday, February 2, 2015, 13:58 The fifth and last detainee in the recent Itamar/Rekhes HaGidonim case has been released.
The incident began on Saturday, January 3, when rapid response squads from Itamar and
the adjacent Rekhes HaGidonim hilltop community and also IDF soldiers were called to the area of Itamar to search for a flock of stolen sheep. The flock was located, however during the searches a concern arose that Jewish children herding another flock had been kidnapped and therefore additional forces were called up to search. During the searches hundreds of rioting Arabs from the village of Akrava approached and began to attack the security forces as they searched.
On Tuesday, January 20 an Itamar rapid response squad member and a Rekhes HaGidonim rapid response squad member were detained on suspicion of having injured the Arab rioters. The detainees gave testimony that they had shot into the air in order to extricate a soldier in an army Hummer who was being attacked by dozens of rioting Arabs. See here for more details about the investigation and here for a report of the police possibly concealing evidence from the Lod District Court. Only after Honenu attorney Adi Kedar filed appeals with the Lod District Court and the Israeli Supreme Court were the detainees released after being held two days in remand.
On Sunday, January 25 two additional members of the Rekhes HaGidonim rapid response squad were detained on suspicion of involvement with injuring the above-mentioned rioting Arabs. They were brought on the following day to the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court for a deliberation on their remand extension, during which, for the first time since the beginning of the case, the police representative admitted that during the incident hundreds of Arabs attacked an IDF Hummer and almost lynched the driver. The police representative also admitted that not only rapid response squad members, but also many soldiers, among them officers, fired a very large number of warning shots into the air after they were attacked by the Arab mob. Petah Tikva Magistrate Court Judge Amit Michaels released one of the detainees to a two-day complete house arrest and extended the remand of the other detainee by two days.
On Wednesday, January 28 a 30 year-old Rekhes HaGidonim resident, the fifth detainee in the case, was detained on suspicion of involvement with injuring rioting Arabs during the January 3 incident near Itamar. He denies all charges. The police kept him in remand until Sunday, February 1 and then released him.
In addition to the five detainees already mentioned the Department of Nationalist Crime in the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police interrogated other Itamar/Rekhes HaGidonim residents and rapid response squad members.
In response to the case Honenu states that, “The Department of Nationalist Crime in the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police handled the incident in a disgraceful manner. Instead of dealing with the rioting Arabs who attempted to lynch an IDF soldier, the investigators invested massive resources in harassing rapid response squad members who risk their lives to protect the residents of the area. We would like to see these resources invested in fighting Arab terror.”