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2 arrested in slaying of Israeli settler family

Associated Press / April 18, 2011

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JERUSALEM — Israel announced the arrests of two Palestinian teenagers yesterday in the deadly stabbings of a West Bank settler family last month, capping a monthlong investigation that involved mass arrest raids and the detentions of hundreds of Arab villagers.

The March 11 assault killed a married couple, Udi and Ruth Fogel, and three of their children as they slept in their home in Itamar, a settlement deep inside the West Bank. Among the dead were a 4-year-old boy and his 3-month-old sister.

The slayings outraged Israelis. The search for the killers focused on the neighboring Palestinian village of Awarta, which was put under curfew while residents were systematically arrested, interrogated, fingerprinted, and forced to give DNA samples.

The two suspects belonged to a small PLO faction, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, although it appeared they acted independently, said a West Bank military commander. Authorities identified the suspects as cousins Hakim Awad and Amjad Awad.

Also yesterday, a hospital spokesman said a 16-year-old Israeli boy who was wounded when an antitank rocket fired from Gaza hit a school bus died yesterday of his injuries.

The April 7 bus attack provoked Israeli airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza. The exchanges of rocket fire and airstrikes threatened to spiral into an all-out conflict before an informal cease-fire restored relative calm.

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