Israel warns settlers not to take revenge into own hands after missing teenager found dead

Car is set alight and flames are burning
According to local media, settlers entered the village, setting fire to cars and houses

The Israeli public was urged not to take the law into their own hands by seeking “revenge” after a teenager who went missing from a West Bank settlement was found dead.

Benjamin Achimeir, 14, was last seen leaving the settler outpost of Malachei Shalom early Friday to tend to his flock. The sheep returned to the outpost hours later without him, according to local media reports.

His disappearance prompted a major manhunt and deadly attacks on Palestinians in the nearby village of Al-Mughayyir on Friday evening.

According to local media, settlers entered the village, setting fire to cars and houses. A 25-year-old Palestinian man, Jihad Abu Alia, was killed and 25 others were injured in ensuing clashes.

Achimair’s body was discovered by a drone on Saturday, according to Israel’s Channel 13 TV. The broadcaster said he was not shot but did not elaborate.

Terror attack

Authorities are treating it as a terror attack, with Defence Minister Yoav Gallant calling on the public to not interfere with the investigation.

“Let the security forces act quickly in the hunt for the terrorists - revenge actions will make it difficult for our fighters in their mission - the law must not be taken into one’s own hands,” Mr Gallant posted on X.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the killing: “We will get to the murderers and their helpers as we do to anyone who harms the citizens of the state of Israel.”

Dozens of Israeli settlers returned to Al-Mughayyir’s outskirts on Saturday, burning 12 homes and several cars.

Settlers reportedly also set fire to houses and cars in the Palestinian village of Douma, close to where Achimeir’s body was found.

Hamas affiliates

At least 421 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed by Israeli forces since October 7 with a further nine killed by settlers, according to the UN.

Israel says at least 3,600 terror suspects have been arrested in the West Bank of whom some 1,600 are Hamas affiliates.

Israel also said it foiled several terror attacks in the West Bank since October 7, including a major attack planned to be carried out in central Israel last month.

Violence between settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank has significantly increased since Hamas’ terror attack on October 7, when they killed 1,200 people and took 250 people hostage.

More than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in Gaza since then, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.