Page last updated at 11:02 GMT, Thursday, 12 November 2009

Murder charges for Jewish settler

Yaacov Teitel, Jewish settler accused of a series of murders and attacks
Mr Teitel said he had 'no regrets'

A Jewish settler has been charged in Israel with murdering two Palestinians and attacking left-wing Israeli, gay and messianic Jewish targets.

Yaakov Teitel, an American immigrant who lives in the West Bank, faces 14 charges, including two counts of murder and three of attempted murder.

"God is proud of what I have done," Mr Teitel said in court.

Police called him a "Jewish terrorist" when he was arrested in October. His lawyer says he is mentally disturbed.

"It's been a pleasure and an honour to serve my God," he said as he entered Jerusalem District Court. "God is proud of what I have done, I have no regrets."

Police say Mr Teitel, a 37-year-old and father of four, has confessed to the 1997 murder of a Palestinian taxi driver in East Jerusalem and a shepherd in the West Bank, which he told them were to avenge suicide bombings in Israel.

He is also accused of:

• Placing a bomb near a convent west of Jerusalem, wounding a Palestinian, after previously attempting to set fire to the building

  • Sending a bomb disguised as a gift for the Jewish holiday of Purim to a family of messianic Jews - Jews who believe in Jesus as a saviour - seriously wounding a 15-year-old boy
  • A bomb attack which lightly wounded the left-wing Israeli academic Zeev Sternhell last year
  • Placing a bomb in a police station in an attempted attack which police say was aimed at diverting them from providing security for gay pride parades
  • Laying an explosive device next to a Palestinian home near the West Bank settlement of Eli
  • Putting poisonous antifreeze in three bottles of juice and leaving them near a Palestinian village in the hope of poisoning a passer-by.

The charge sheet says some of the attacks were motivated by Mr Teitel's "hatred and objection" to individuals and groups whose lifestyles and ideology conflicted with his own.

Charges include: Premeditated murder, attempted murder, weapons violations, arson in grave circumstances, incitement to violence and terror, threatening from a motive of hostility against a specific group.

The judge said Mr Teitel would remain in custody until further notice, and further hearings would be held in mid-December.

He was arrested in Jerusalem after he was found giving out leaflets in the ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood praising an attack on a gay youth club in Tel Aviv in August that killed two people.

A large weapons cache was later found at his home in the West Bank settlement

Mr Teitel's lawyer, Adi Keidar, at the time said his client was "mentally disturbed" and believed he was an "emissary of the Lord" who was instructed to carry out the attacks by God.

He said Mr Teitel had confessed to attacks he did not commit, and therefore his confessions could not be relied on.

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