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Gag Order Removed: Suspect Arrested for Murders, Bombings

Samaria resident imprisoned on suspicion of two murders of Arabs and bomb attacks all over the country.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/1/2009, 4:20 PM / Last Update: 11/1/2009, 6:00 PM

Israel news photo

Yaakov Teitel, 37, of the Jewish town Shvut Rachel near Shilo in Shomron (Samaria), is under arrest on suspicion of having carried out two murders of Arabs, as well as several bombing attacks and attempted bombings. He was imprisoned over three weeks ago, but has not yet been permitted to meet a lawyer or his family; his wife was briefly arrested as well some ten days go, but was released a few hours later.

The gag order on the matter was released only at 6 PM this evening (Sunday).

Teitel is charged with murdering two Arabs in two separate incidents in 1997: a cab driver from eastern Jerusalem, and an Arab man near the southern Judea community of Carmel. He is also accused of having set off a bomb at the home of a Christian family in the city of Ariel, injuring one person seriously, of placing bombs at several police headquarters, and of placing a bomb in the yard of the home of radical left-wing Professor Ze’ev Sternhell. Sternhell has called on Arabs to murder "only" settlers, and not other Israelis, in their struggle against Israel.

At Least One Charge Dropped
“It looked like the police wanted to pin every single unsolved murder of the last year on Yaakov,” said one source close to the case. Teitel was even accused of committing the double murder at the homosexual club in Tel Aviv three months ago, after he was caught posting announcements in favor of violence against homosexuals. The police originally did not accept his claim that he was busy driving a neighbor and his wife to give birth that night; only after the couple passed a polygraph test verifying their claim that he had been with them the whole time were those charges dropped.

Teitel, who has a wife and four children aged 4 months to 5 years, has not been permitted to see them since his arrest. Neither will he be permitted to see them until he is indicted, say sources close to the case.

A former U.S. Marine, Teitel immigrated to Israel several years ago. He was arrested early in the morning during the weeklong Sukkot holiday. “They turned over the house,” neighbors said, “including drilling holes in the wall and destroying things, looking for weapons – but found nothing.”

A Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) agent said, however, that ultimately, a cache of weapons that he had smuggled into Israel from abroad was found buried under his house.