A Palestinian man suspected in the murder of an Israeli teenage girl reenacted the crime on Sunday at the location in a forest just outside Jerusalem where her body was found last week.
The Israel Police, Shin Bet security service and Israel Defense Forces investigating the brutal murder of Ori Ansbacher, 19, increasingly believe that Arafat Irfayia, who is said to have told investigators that he left home with a knife on the day of the killing, had a terror motive.
Irfayia, 29, has begun to cooperate with investigators, security officials said. Elements of the investigation remain under a gag order.
He was arrested in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday on suspicion of killing Ansbacher a day earlier, in a case that has sparked outrage across the country.
On Sunday Irfayia returned with police to the woods near the Ein Yael nature center on the outskirts of Jerusalem where Ansbacher was found.
Early indications are that the attack was a spontaneous act, after Irfayia ran into his victim, Channel 13 reported.
Ansbacher’s aunt Na’ama Cohen, speaking with media, said she felt sure Irfayia went looking for an Israeli to kill.
“An Arab doesn’t take a knife to the forest just like that without any reason,” Cohen said, according to a report from Channel 12 news. “He didn’t go out hiking with a knife. What else could it have been?”
In the predawn hours of Sunday morning, the IDF entered Irfayia’s home in Hebron in order to prepare the structure for demolition, the army said, further indicating that security forces believe the gruesome killing was terrorist in nature.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and other ministers have insisted that the murder was a terror attack, though most details of the incident have been kept under gag order.
Ansbacher, from the settlement of Tekoa, south of Jerusalem, was found dead late Thursday after she was reported missing earlier in the day.
Citing the suspect’s own account under questioning, the police and the Shin Bet said in a statement Saturday night that Irfaiya left his home in Hebron on Thursday armed with a knife and made his way toward Jerusalem, where he spotted Ansbacher in the woods and fatally attacked her.
Irfaiya has not yet been charged. He had previously served time for being in Israel illegally and for possession of a knife, Channel 13 has reported.