Jerusalem - Several Jewish teenagers have been arrested in connection with the fatal stoning of a Palestinian woman in the West Bank, Israel's internal security agency said Sunday.
The agency, said in a statement that the suspects, who were not identified because they are minors, were under investigation for "grave terrorism offenses, including murder."
The Palestinian woman, Aisha Rabi, who was in her 40s, was struck in the head by a stone as she rode in a car with her husband and two daughters, in the occupied West Bank, on the night of Oct. 12.
Her husband, Yaqoub Rabi, who was driving, said at the time that he believed the culprits were Jewish settlers and that he had heard them speaking Hebrew.
The agency said Aisha Rabi was the mother of nine children.
How they were identified?
The five suspects are students of a high school for Orthodox boys, according to authorities. The morning after the Friday night attack, some ultra orthodox activists set out by car from one settlement to another, where they briefed those students on how to prepare for, and deal with, police interrogations.
That journey aroused suspicion of the police, officials said, since driving on the Sabbath is generally forbidden for ultra orthodox Jews, and they all come from religious settlements.
Lawyers representing three of the detained minors, who were arrested a week ago, were first granted access to them around midnight Saturday.
"As we have asserted from the start, our clients are not connected in any way to the case," the lawyers said in a statement after the visit, adding that the police had no evidence connecting the suspects to the act.
They said two other minors were in detention in connection with the case but had not been allowed to speak with a lawyer.
Radical young settlers began attacking Palestinian property more than a decade ago, as part of a doctrine known as "price tag," exacting a price for army and police actions against rogue settlement activity. Israeli authorities have struggled to contain settlers violence, despite fears that it has the potential to set the combustible West Bank ablaze.
In 2015, authorities uncovered a shadowy Jewish terrorist network known as the Revolt, after the title of its manifesto, whose young extremist settlers rebelled against what they viewed as the inertia of the Israeli establishment.
The deadliest case of Jewish terrorism in recent years was an arson attack on a Palestinian home in the West Bank village of Duma in July 2015 that killed a toddler and his parents. Two years ago, a settler and an accomplice were charged with murder in that attack. Their trial is underway.
Settlers have also set fire to mosques and churches, Palestinian fields and vehicles. They have vandalized property and slashed car tires in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, often leaving behind graffiti messages in Hebrew.
There has been speculation that the students suspected of throwing stones at cars on the night of Oct. 12 were taking revenge for an attack a week earlier, when a Palestinian gunman fatally shot two Israeli workers in an Israeli-run factory in the West Bank.