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Israel extends detention of Palestinian over teen murder

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — An Israeli court on Monday extended by 10 days the detention of a Palestinian over the brutal murder of an Israeli woman that has gripped the country, Shin Bet security services said.

The body of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher was found on Thursday south of Jerusalem and her suspected murderer Arafat Irfaiya, 29, was arrested on Saturday.

The Israeli intelligence service Shin Bet has labelled it a “nationalist” attack, a phrase used to refer to violence related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Despite a court gag order, Israeli social media was abuzz over the weekend with what Yediot Aharonot newspaper called “graphic descriptions about the alleged nature of the murder”.

His hands and feet in shackles, Irfaiya was escorted by Israeli policemen into a Jerusalem court packed with photographers on Monday, an AFP journalist said.

The room was cleared before the start of the closed door hearing.

A Shin Bet spokesman said the court decided “to extend his detention by 10 days”,  but gave no further details.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Ansbacher’s parents on Sunday at the Israeli settlement of Tekoa in the West Bank, a territory occupied by Israel for more than 50 years.

In response to the murder, which shocked and angered Israelis, Netanyahu, who is campaigning for reelection in April, vowed to block some funds to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Israel collects around $127 million a month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports and then transfers it to the PA.

Netanyahu said he would implement within days legislation passed by the Israeli parliament to withhold some funds in response to PA payments to families of Palestinians jailed by Israel for attacks against Israelis.

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