Shocked neighbors called police on Wednesday when they saw a Tiberias man wandering the neighborhood in bloodstained clothes clutching a woman’s severed head under his arm.
The gruesome details emerged after the man was arrested for murdering his ex-wife and trying to set her body and apartment on fire.
“At first I thought he was walking around with a doll’s head, I didn’t realize what it was. He was standing next to the dumpster and was trying to burn it,” Wissam Darawshe told reporters, adding that the head was wrapped in a towel.
Other neighbors said that they heard the man knocking on apartment doors shouting, “I killed Amalek!”
In biblical Jewish tradition, the nomadic Amalekite tribe came to be viewed as the essence of evil.
Police were able to detain the 34-year old man on the street shortly after without a fight. However, they then noticed a fire in an adjacent apartment.
Magen David Adom paramedics pronounced the death of the woman immediately upon arrival at the scene. “It was a very difficult sight to see,” said medic Talib Abdullah.
“We had nothing to do upon arrival other than pronounce her death,” he added.
Neighbors said the couple divorced two weeks ago, and did not have any children. The man was reportedly mentally unstable.
Neither the man nor his 33-year-old victim have been publicly identified by police, but Channel 2 revealed later Wednesday night that the suspect immigrated to Israel in 1991 from Moldova and was once hospitalized in a psychiatric facility.
Friends told Ynet that the woman had spoken about how relieved she was to be divorced, but also expressed her fears that her ex-husband would harm her. It was not immediately clear if she had complained to police.
Tamar Pileggi contributed to this report.