Israeli investigators say three of the six Jewish suspects accused of killing a Palestinian teenager have confessed to the crime and re-enacted it for authorities.
The breakthrough Monday in the investigation of last week's burning death of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir came as Israeli officials attempted to quell the uproar over the killing. The murder is widely seen as a revenge killing for last month's kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers who were later found dead.
Militants in the Gaza Strip fired dozens of rockets at Israel Monday, setting off air raid sirens as the military rushed more forces to the border. The military said 40 rockets were launched in an hour as night fell.
Israel retaliated with air strikes. The militant group Hamas said at least six of its members were killed.
Israel called up hundreds of reservists in anticipation of more clashes with the militant group Hamas, which it blames for the killing of the Israeli youths. Hamas has denied responsibility for the Israeli teenagers' deaths.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the killing of the Palestinian teenager, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, and called his father, Hussein, to express his condolences. Netanyahu's office said the Israeli leader expressed his outrage "over the reprehensible murder of your son."
“The murderers will be brought to trial and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Netanyahu added, according to the statement.
Numerous protests have broken out in recent days in Jerusalem and Israeli Arab towns over the killing. An American cousin of Abu Khdeir was detained in one of the protests and allegedly beaten by Israeli police.
Israeli authorities say the six suspects being held over the killing had nationalist motives and belong to an extremist Jewish group.
On Sunday, Netanyahu reiterated appeals for calm, and vowed to not allow extremists from either side to "set the region on fire and bring a new wave of bloodshed."
No comment from family
The father of the slain teenager was not immediately available for comment.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with the Abu Khudair family and a delegation from their Shua'fat neighborhood at his compound in Ramallah on Monday.
Abbas said he will sign new international treaties, for the protection of the Palestinian people.
“We will no longer be silent at these crimes against our people - the killings, torture, settlements, attacking, cutting down trees and attacking mosques. We will not be silent,” Abbas said.
Israel's outgoing president, Shimon Peres, and his successor, Reuven Rivlin, promised in a joint editorial published in Yedioth Ahronoth, the country's best-selling newspaper on Monday, there would be no cover-up in the investigation of the Palestinian's death.
Cautioning that “words can kill,” they also appealed for an end to incitement by both sides in the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The bloodshed will stop only when we all understand that it is not our unhappy fate to live together, but rather our destiny to do so,” Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and Rivlin, a veteran right-wing politician, wrote.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters.