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Arab man ‘bludgeoned sister to death with hammer’

Police say Hussein Rahal, 22, likely motivated by anger over modern lifestyle of Ranin, 19, in grisly murder, burning of body

File: Illustrative image of a hammer. (CC BY-SA Michael Jastremski, via Wikimedia Commons)
File: Illustrative image of a hammer. (CC BY-SA Michael Jastremski, via Wikimedia Commons)

The brother of an Arab woman who was beaten to death with a hammer and set on fire in northern Israel was arrested last month on suspicion of murdering his sister in a so-called “honor killing.”

Details of the case were under gag order until Thursday evening.

Hussein Yussuf Rahal, 22, of Bayt Zarzir was arrested on suspicion of murdering his 19-year-old sister Ranin. According to details of the investigation released by police, on the night of January 12, Rahal allegedly kidnapped Ranin from a village outside the Galilean city of Nazareth, drove her to a forest nearby and bludgeoned her to death with a hammer before setting her body on fire.

Her remains were found in a forest near Kibbutz Hanaton, a few miles away, the next day. Rahal was arrested five days later, on January 17, and hasn’t cooperated with investigators since.

Police officials told Channel 10 that the motive for the murder was believed to be family honor.

“The investigation found that the victim’s modern lifestyle didn’t sit well with the family,” a police official said. “The brother didn’t love that she wore modern clothes and left the house to live alone.”

The police added that he had tried to kill her in the past. Last August he attempted to run Ranin over, injured her, and was brought to trial, Channel 10 said.

Maariv reported, by contrast, that while charges were filed against him, he wasn’t located by the authorities.

Rahal is to be charged with murder and kidnapping with intent to murder at the Nazareth District Court on Sunday.

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