Palestinian charged in 2009 West Bank murder of 2 policemen
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Palestinian charged in 2009 West Bank murder of 2 policemen

Indictment of Tubas man classifies killing as criminal in nature, breaking open cold case that had befuddled investigators

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Police inspect a cruiser after the killing of two policemen in the Jordan Valley on  March 15, 2009. (Kobi Gideon/FLASH90)
Police inspect a cruiser after the killing of two policemen in the Jordan Valley on March 15, 2009. (Kobi Gideon/FLASH90)

Military prosecution on Sunday indicted a Palestinian suspected of involvement in the March 2009 murder of two Israeli policemen in the Jordan Valley.

Muhammad Radwan Daraghmeh of the northern West Bank village of Tubas has been in police custody since being arrested by Shin Bet security forces in April.

Authorities believe he took part in the killing of Yehezkel Ramzerker and David Rabinovich eight years ago, marking a major breakthrough in a case that has stymied investigators for the better part of a decade. Two other people suspected to have been involved are still at large.

Daraghmeh was arrested over the killings, and police found an improvised gun and bullet magazine in his home during searches of his home.

According to the indictment, Daraghmeh, 35, was part of a cell of three bandits who targeted West Bank residents. The strategy of the group was to stop on the side of the road with their vehicle, pretending to have car trouble. When one of them succeeded in flagging down a truck driving by, another would pull a gun on the driver and instruct him to proceed to an isolated area. There, the three would steal the car along with the contents inside and leave the driver stranded.

On March 19, Daraghmah’s squad had been in the middle of a ruse to steal a truck when Ramzerker and Rabinovich arrived in their police vehicle. An armed member of the cell — not Daraghmeh — approached the officers and fired, killing them both on the spot.

(L-R) Yehezkel Ramzerker and David Rabinovich, two Israeli policeman gunned down in the Jordan Valley on March 15, 2009. (Screen capture/YouTube)
(L-R) Yehezkel Ramzerker and David Rabinovich, two Israeli policeman gunned down in the Jordan Valley on March 15, 2009. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Daraghmeh and the other two fled the scene, leaving a mystery for investigators. Jack Teitel, a Jewish terrorist from the West Bank, was briefly suspected of involvement in the killings, but was never charged over it.

While security forces’ initial assessment of the attack deemed it to be security-related, the indictment clarified that the incident was, in fact, criminal in nature.

Despite not being the shooter himself, Daraghmeh was charged with voluntary manslaughter, robbery, attempted robbery, arms trafficking, and carrying weapons without a permit.

The Shin Bet referred to the indictment as a “major breakthrough” in the investigation and said that security forces would continue to act to “arrest, investigate and prosecute” those responsible for the murders of the two Israeli policemen.

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