‘I slaughtered her’: Woman from Kuseife is killed, brother said to confess

26-year-old Azhar Abu Rabia is 10th woman murdered by someone known to her, 49th person killed in the Arab community this year; reports say her throat was slit

Illustrative: Israel Police investigate the scene of a crime on June 2, 2021. (Israel Police)
Illustrative: Israel Police investigate the scene of a crime on June 2, 2021. (Israel Police)

A 26-year-old woman from the Bedouin town of Kuseife in southern Israel was killed early Sunday morning, with police arresting her brother after he confessed.

The victim was later named as Azhar Abu Rabia.

Her throat was slit alongside other signs of violence. She was brought to a medical station in Arad operated by the Magen David Adom ambulance service, where staff pronounced her dead.

Her 28-year-old brother brought her to the station, according to Hebrew media, and told people there: “I slaughtered her.”

The woman’s brother then went to the police station in Arad, where he was arrested and taken for questioning.

He is said to have admitted to killing his sister, and is cooperating with the police investigation, the Kan public broadcaster said.

Police officers opened a murder investigation into what they said was likely a so-called “honor killing,” and will apply for an extension to the suspect’s detention at the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court on Sunday afternoon.

Abu Rabia, who in the weeks leading up to her death had reportedly been living at her parents’ home, wanted to visit her children, but was prevented from doing so by her brother, the Ynet news site reported.

An argument broke out between the two, leading to the suspected murder, according to the report, which cited testimony from local residents.

She was the 10th woman killed by someone known to her since the start of the year.

According to the Israel Observatory on Femicide, in 2022, 24 women were “murdered because they were women,” a 50 percent rise over the 16 such murders recorded in 2021. Activists have long complained that not enough is done to prevent violence against women in Israel, particularly in cases known to the authorities.

In addition, Arab communities have seen a wave of violence in recent years. Many blame the police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence, which includes family feuds, mafia turf wars and violence against women.

According to the anti-violence campaign group The Abraham Initiatives, 49 members of the Arab community have been killed in violent incidents since the start of the year. The watchdog said 46 of them were killed by gunfire.

On Saturday morning, 14-year-old boy Mohammed Abu Huwash was shot dead in the southern town of Rahat. According to police, he was shot during a fight. Reports said that in addition, a 17-year-old was lightly to moderately injured and hospitalized for treatment.

A few hours prior to the Rahat killing, a 39-year-old man from Shfaram was critically wounded while sitting in his car in the northern city of Haifa. According to the Ynet news site, the man was known to the police. Hours later, his death was announced by the Rambam Medical Center.

On Friday, a man was shot to death in Lod. Hamza Abu Ghanem, 25, was shot outside his home after returning from morning prayers at a mosque, police found in a preliminary investigation.

Police said that the incident was not connected to an incident hours earlier in which seven people were wounded by gunfire in Lod.

Police at the scene of a shooting in the central city of Lod, April 14, 2023. (Israel Police)

In that incident, an 8-year-old boy was among seven people injured by gunfire and remained hospitalized at Shamir Medical Center in serious condition on Friday morning, according to a statement from the hospital. Five others were in mild condition at the facility, while a 7-year-old boy was released following treatment, according to the statement.

According to a preliminary investigation, police said a man opened fire at the group of young people who were standing outside a residential compound. There was no immediate announcement of arrests.

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