Alleged killer of Esther Horgen identified as Muhammad Mruh Kabha

The Shin Bet security service identifies the prime suspect in the murder of Esther Horgen in the northern West Bank last month as a 40-year-old Palestinian man from a nearby village.

According to the security service, Muhammad Mruh Kabha, from Tura al-Gharbiya near Jenin, is suspected of carrying out the deadly attack as a form of vengeance for the death of a security prisoner, Kamel Abu Waer, who died of cancer six weeks before.

Though Palestinian sources had previously identified Kabha as the prime suspect in the terror attack, his name was barred from publication under a court-issued gag order until now.

According to the Shin Bet, upon deciding to carry out a terror attack following Abu Waer’s death, Kabha began searching for a way to do so. He was aware of a gap in the fence in the Reihan forest outside the settlement of Tal Menashe because he had used it in the past to smuggle cigarettes into Israel, the security service says.

Muhammad Mruh Kabha in prisoners’ garb (Shin Bet)

“After he noticed that there was only light traffic and that Israeli citizens pass through the area, he decided that this would be an appropriate area to carry out a terror attack,” the Shin Bet says in a statement.

According to the Shin Bet, after killing Horgen on December 20, Kabha fled the area and received help from friends and relatives to hide as Israeli security forces searched for him.

Nevertheless, he was arrested last week, along with four people who the Shin Bet says helped him hide. Palestinian media reported that two of those people were his wives. The security service says an indictment against Kabha is due to be handed down shortly.

— Judah Ari Gross