Police on Sunday revealed new details regarding the murder of two Bedouin sisters last week, as they announced three of the missing father’s siblings had been arrested.
The search for the father who, police believe, murdered his children, aged 3 and 5, last week, was still ongoing. However, three of his brothers were arrested late Saturday night. Officials said they had previously kidnapped the mother’s brother and blackmailed her into returning the girls.
The ordeal started more than a year ago, when the mother ran away with her two daughters in an attempt to protect them, Channel 10 reported. In response, the father’s family grabbed the mother’s brother and threatened to hurt him if the girls weren’t returned to him. A few days later, the mother brought the girls back and her brother was released.
Last week, the two girls were found dead in their beds at their home in the Bedouin village of al-Fora’a.
The mother had filed at least five complaints against her husband at the Ma’aleh Adumim police station, stating she feared for her and her daughters’ safety. She filed one more at the Arad station — the day before the girls were murdered.
Police chief Yohanan Danino on Friday dismissed Arad police station commander Yoni Zeitek, after an investigation into the murder of the girls near the southern city revealed “low standards” of police conduct. Police failed to act on the mother’s warning that the girls might be in danger at the hands of her husband.
In addition to Zeitek, Danino dismissed the station’s sub-commander and head of investigations. He also reprimanded other officers involved in the case, such as the investigator who had heard the girls’ mother’s testimony, warning that their father might attempt to hurt them.
The girls were laid to rest on Friday morning, three days after they were found dead. Their mother, Abir Dandis, blamed the police for the tragedy, saying it would not have occurred were it not for their negligence.
“I’ll settle the score with them yet,” Dandis told Channel 2.
On Friday evening, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told Channel 2 that the Arad incident was “very bad,” as it was caused by negligence on the part of the entire senior staff of the police station.
“This led to failure, with tragic consequences,” Aharonovitch said.
Southern police chief Yoram Halevi, meanwhile, said the police force “knows how to take responsibility” for its mistakes.
“We’re not perfect, but we know how to learn a lesson,” Halevi told the news channel, conveying his apologies to the girls’ mother for the mistakes of the policemen.