Arad stabbing of soldier was ‘revenge’ attack against IDF, perpetrator says
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Arad stabbing of soldier was ‘revenge’ attack against IDF, perpetrator says

Shin Bet names terrorists behind Ron Kokia's killing, says assailant originally planned to kidnap the soldier using anesthetics

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

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)

The Shin Bet security service on Friday revealed additional information about the two Bedouin Israelis allegedly behind the killing of an IDF soldier last month, including their names and motives.

According to the Shin Bet, Khaled Abu Jaudah, 22, from an unrecognized Bedouin village in southern Israel, stabbed to death Ron Kokia, a sergeant in the IDF’s Nahal Infantry Brigade, while Kokia waited at a bus stop in the southern city of Arad on November 30.

Abu Jaudah’s half-brother Zahi Abu Jaudah, 22, acted as Khaled’s confidant and assisted him after the attack, the security service said.

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.

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)

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 expired Friday.

The Shin Bet said an indictment is expected to be filed on Sunday, December 24.

According to the security service, Khaled 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.”

Police units respond to an apparent terror attack in the southern city of Arad on November 30, 2017. (Israel Police)

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 hiding money that would help him while he was on the lam, the Shin Bet said.

During the month ahead of the attack, he and Zahi drove around Arad looking for a soldier who they could kill, eventually finding Kokia, whose Nahal Brigade’s home base is located just outside the city.

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.

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

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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