Police said a man arrested in connection with the disappearance of a teenager found dead in northern Israel Monday is suspected in her murder, as a second suspect was arrested in connection with the crime.
Authorities said late Monday that forensic teams positively identified a body found in the northern village of Jish as belonging to Yara Ayoub, 16, who had been missing since last Wednesday.
The murder suspect was described as a 28-year-old man, who was arrested Saturday on suspicion of kidnapping Ayoub and obstructing the investigations.
He has denied the charges against him. In a statement Monday, his attorney said that police have connected him to the crime because they believe he was last person who made contact with Ayoub. “I believe that upon completion of the investigation he will be released home,” the lawyer asserted.
The second suspect, arrested Monday, was described as a 53-year-old man.
Both are slated to appear before judges on Tuesday for remand hearings.
Ayoub was last seen on Wednesday at 5 p.m. when she went to a bakery in Jish, an Upper Galilee town of some 3,000 people.
Police have not released details on the circumstances surrounding her disappearance and death, and have placed a gag order on much of the investigation.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday announced he would chair a new ministerial committee dedicated to combating domestic violence, and called for “much more” to be done to counter the phenomenon in Israel.
Speaking to the cabinet on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women after visiting a women’s shelter, Netanyahu said an increase in violence against women in Israel in recent years was “a criminal phenomenon” and called for stricter enforcement.
Tamar Pileggi and Stuart Winer contributed to this report.