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Police footage shows arrest of Palestinian suspected in murder of Esther Horgen

36-year-old man from town near Jenin is alleged to have killed Israeli woman in forest last week; IDF has mapped out his home in preparation for potential demolition

Special police forces enter a home in the Palestinian town of Tura to arrest a man suspected of murdering Israeli Esther Horgen (Israel Police)
Special police forces enter a home in the Palestinian town of Tura to arrest a man suspected of murdering Israeli Esther Horgen (Israel Police)

Police released footage Monday of last week’s arrest of a Palestinian man suspected in the murder of Israeli Esther Horgen. The suspect was apprehended in the town of Tura in the northern West Bank on Thursday.

The video includes a helmet camera view of the nighttime operation by the Yamam counter-terrorism unit in Tura, as well as later daylight searches by soldiers, and the man being put into a military vehicle.

The man is suspected of murdering Horgen last Sunday and has reportedly confessed and provided details of the crime. Horgen, 52, a mother of six, went for a run in the Reihan forest near her home in the settlement of Tal Menashe on Sunday afternoon and did not return, whereupon her husband, Benjamin, notified the police. Her body, which bore signs of violence, was found in the forest in the early hours of Monday.

Palestinian media identified the suspect as a 36-year-old man from Tura, a town in the Jenin governorate around 2.5 kilometers’ drive from Tal Menashe. The reports further indicated that he had served time in an Israeli prison for security offenses. The Times of Israel confirmed the detainee’s arrest and prior jail time, but the prisoner’s identity remains under a gag order.

According to Channel 13 news, the interrogation of the suspect revealed he was not a member of a terror group and had waited in the forest to attack any Israeli who passed by. He snuck up on Horgen, striking her several times in the head, then hid her body, the report said.

On Friday, the suspect was taken to the murder scene and reenacted the killing, Kan News reported.

The military has said additional suspected accomplices have been detained for questioning, without specifying how many.

Last week the Israel Defense Forces mapped out the suspect’s West Bank home, in preparation for its potential future demolition.

Esther Horgen, 52, was found dead in the northern West Bank in a suspected terror attack on December 20, 2020. (Courtesy)

Israeli authorities often take punitive action such as home demolitions even before a conviction in cases of terrorist attacks. Jerusalem defends the practice of razing the family home of attackers as a deterrent against future assaults and officials have argued that speed is essential, claiming that the deterrent factor degrades over time.

Over the years, a number of Israeli defense officials have questioned the efficacy of the practice and human rights activists have denounced it as unfair collective punishment.

Aaron Boxerman contributed to this report.

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