General Secretary of Hadash Movement Israel, member of Knesset, Mohammad Barakeh, on Thursday called on the Israeli President Moshe Katsav to absolve seven Shfa-Arm residents suspected of killing a Jewish terrorist who staged, August 2005, on board a bus heading to the Arabic town and opened fire at the passengers killing four, several residents were injured.
The terrorist, Israel Army Forces deserter and a member of the terrorist Kach movement, Eden Natan-Zada, shot dead four people with his military assault rifle in an attack on a bus in August of last year; several residents were injured in the attack.
Israeli police says that the terrorist was beaten to death by the residents after emptying his rifle magazine at the passengers.
Talking to the Israeli online daily Haaretz, Barakeh said that "the presidency that absolved the Shin Bet interrogators in the 300 bus affair after it was proved they smashed a Palestinian detainee with a rock, can absolve seven [men] when it is not even certain that they hurt a terrorist who boarded a bus in order to kill as many Arabs as he could."
The seven residents were arrested on Thursday in an operation Israel called the “Shared Fate”, following ten months of probe by a special team assigned by the Israeli police northern district.
Three residents were arrested in a pre-dawn operation in Shfa-Amr, two others were detained in the south of the country – one in Eilat and one in Kiryat Gat, Haaretz said.
According to Haaretz, a sixth suspect is already serving a jail sentence for other incidents, while the seventh gave himself up later in the morning after a search was launched for him, and after the first six arrests were announced.
Police claims obtaining “evidence” that links the residents directly to Natan-Zada’s death.
Following the sudden arrests, the local committee established in the town in the wake of the attack announced an emergency meeting for Tuesday night to decide actions in response the the arrests.
Nazeeh Hayek, whose brother Nader was killed in the bus shooting, said that the families of the victims supported the detainees who acted to stop a wider massacre. He also expressed his regret that the "police and Mossad have reopened the wound" and are acting against the residents who had to defend themselves.
* Mohammad Barakeh was born in Shfa-Arm July 29, 1955.