Couple charged with assaulting, stabbing 12-year-old after luring her to Haifa home

Shadi Abu Mayala, 25, accused of promising young girl gifts and treats if she came to his home, before he and his partner attacked her, leading to hospitalization

Illustrative. Police officers in Rishon Lezion on July 03, 2022. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
Illustrative. Police officers in Rishon Lezion on July 03, 2022. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

A young couple was indicted in the Haifa District Court on Monday for allegedly kidnapping and stabbing a 12-year-old girl in January.

According to the indictment, Shadi Abu Mayala, 25, from Jerusalem, approached the girl on a bus to Jerusalem and offered her to be his “new girlfriend,” promising to give her gifts including a new iPhone and to take her to restaurants. He also allegedly told her she should visit his apartment, where they would play games.

The girl initially turned him down but eventually gave him her phone number before they parted.

Following their first meeting, the indictment said Abu Mayala and the girl messaged and spoke on the phone regularly, during which time he found a job in Haifa and rented an apartment in the city, moving there with partner Manar Zid, 19, from Lod.

The couple is accused of planning to kidnap and cause severe physical harm to the girl.

Abu Mayala invited her to come to his apartment in Haifa on a Saturday in mid-January. The girl agreed and left her home in Netivot for Haifa, a journey of some 200 kilometers (124 miles), telling her parents that she was going to stay with a friend in Jerusalem.

The indictment charged that Abu Mayala met the girl at a gas station near his apartment and led her inside, where Zid was hiding in the bathroom with a knife.

A Magen David Adom ambulance at a murder scene in Kiryat Yam on December 24, 2023. (Magen David Adom)

When they got inside, Abu Mayala allegedly grabbed the girl from behind, choked her, and covered her mouth while Zid stabbed her multiple times over a few minutes. He later told police that he was surprised by Zid’s assault on the girl and that he was only holding her to stop her from alerting the neighbors.

According to the indictment, the girl begged for her life and eventually fell to the floor where the couple left her for dead, bleeding and crying, as they fled the apartment.

After they left, the girl locked herself in the apartment and called the police.

According to Channel 13, Abu Mayala and Zid were arrested later in Jerusalem.

The girl was admitted to hospital with cuts and bruises including on her stomach, thigh, groin area and feet and reportedly underwent surgery as a result of her wounds. Her father told Channel 13 that she was recovering physically but “emotionally, it’s not easy.”

According to Ynet, police originally sought to charge Abu Mayala and Zid with terrorism after Zid told the police that her boyfriend was a Hamas supporter and hated Jews and that he had forced her to take part in the stabbing.

However, Abu Mayala accused Zid of stabbing the girl because she was jealous. Ultimately, prosecutors determined that there was not enough evidence of terrorism and the two were indicted on criminal charges.

The two were charged on Monday with aggravated assault and kidnapping for the purpose of aggravated assault.

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