2 Bedouin Israelis indicted for Arad killing of IDF soldier

2 Bedouin Israelis indicted for Arad killing of IDF soldier

Khaled and Abu Jaudah Zahi hit with a number of terror-related charges over last month’s fatal stabbing of Ron Kokia

Ron Yitzhak Kokia, an IDF soldier who was stabbed to death in a terror attack on November 30, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)
Ron Yitzhak Kokia, an IDF soldier who was stabbed to death in a terror attack on November 30, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

Two Bedouin Israelis were indicted on Sunday over the killing of an IDF soldier last month in the southern city of Arad.

The Shin Bet security service on Friday named the two suspects as Khaled Abu Jaudah, 22, from an unrecognized Bedouin village in southern Israel, and his half-brother Zahi Abu Jaudah, 22.

The Shin Bet said Khaled Abu Jaudah fatally stabbed Ron Kokia, a sergeant in the IDF’s Nahal Infantry Brigade, while the serviceman waited at a bus stop on November 30. He was charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, possession of a knife, preparing for an act of terror and using a weapon.

Zahi, who the Shin Bet said acted as his half-brother’s accomplice and assisted him after the attack, was indicted for attempted murder, possession of a knife and obstruction of justice, among other charges.

The charges against the two were classified as terror-related.

The indictments were filed at the Beersheba District Court.

On December 1, following a large-scale manhunt in the area, the Israel Police and Shin Bet arrested the two Bedouin Israeli suspects and retrieved Kokia’s rifle, but details of the case were kept under a court-issued gag order that was lifted Friday.

The Shin Bet said that during Khaled’s interrogation, he “admitted to murdering the soldier and stealing [Kokia’s] gun.”

Neither of the two men had a history of terrorist activities, the Shin Bet said.

The security service also shed light on Khaled’s motives, saying he committed the attack “out of a desire to do something on behalf of the Palestinians, and as revenge for IDF activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

The Shin Bet added that Khaled identified with various terrorist groups and “has extremist beliefs.”

During his interrogation, Khaled told investigators that his original plan was not to stab a soldier, but to kidnap one, using anaesthetics that he was going to steal from Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center where he worked.

For as-yet unknown reasons, Khaled abandoned this plan and instead plotted to kill a soldier and steal his gun in order to use it in future terror attacks, the Shin Bet said.

Khaled bought a getaway car and started saving money for when he was on the lam, the Shin Bet said.

In the month preceding the attack, he and Zahi drove around Arad looking for a soldier to murder, eventually finding Kokia, whose Nahal Brigade’s home base is located just outside the city.

Hundreds attend the funeral for 19-year old soldier Ron Kokia in Tel Aviv’s Kiryat Shaul military cemetery on December 3, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The soldier was waiting for a ride near a mall in the southern city at approximately 9:30 p.m. when he was attacked that Thursday night.

When medics arrived at the scene, they found him in critical condition, unconscious and without a pulse, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service. A helicopter was summoned to rush him to hospital. Medics tried to resuscitate him in the ambulance but were forced to pronounce him dead before they reached the helicopter, one of the medics said.

His family donated his organs, Army Radio reported.

Hundreds of people attended the sergeant’s funeral in Tel Aviv’s Kiryat Shaul military cemetery last month.

“Go on your way, my son,” Kokia’s mother, Levana, said in front of some 500 friends and family. “Angels will welcome you, and floral tapestries will be laid before you. Go on your way into the arms of God.”

Times of Israel staff contriuted to this report.

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