Police: Forensics at scene led to Palestinian suspect in murder of Israeli teen

Investigators say evidence found at murder scene in south Jerusalem ties arrested man to brutal killing of Ori Ansbacher ‘without question’

Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian man in Ramallah suspected in the murder of Israeli teen Ori Ansbacher on February 8, 2019. (Israel Police)
Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian man in Ramallah suspected in the murder of Israeli teen Ori Ansbacher on February 8, 2019. (Israel Police)

Israeli police investigating the brutal murder of Israeli teen Ori Ansbacher in Jerusalem said on Saturday that forensic evidence unearthed at the scene of the crime led forces to the arrest of a Palestinian suspect Friday night.

Ansbacher, 19, was found dead in the woods at Ein Yael in south Jerusalem late Thursday, with what police said were “signs of violence,” after she was reported missing earlier in the day.

Israeli security forces arrested the Palestinian suspect in Ramallah late Friday for the murder of Ansbacher, who Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said was killed with “shocking brutality,” and police sources were quoted as saying had been stabbed multiple times in the upper torso.

Police said the forensic evidence at the scene tied the suspect to the murder “without question” and that there would be no need for a confession, according to a Channel 13 report Saturday. The arrest of the suspect was “very quiet,” the police added.

Ansbacher’s family was notified of the arrest over the course of Saturday.

Israeli security forces at the scene in Jerusalem where Ori Ansbacher’s body was found on February 7, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The suspect, a Palestinian resident of Hebron, was taken for questioning by the Shin Bet security services after a raid in the West Bank’s Ramallah/el-Bireh area on Friday night.

According to PA news outlet Wafa, IDF troops searched two residential buildings and the Jamal Abdel-Nasser Mosque, where a 30-year-old employee was arrested. The report said the Israeli troops confiscated security camera footage from the neighborhood, as well as from the mosque.

The raid sparked clashes with some local residents, who hurled rocks at the troops. The Palestinian Red Crescent said two Palestinians were treated for light injuries at hospitals in Ramallah.

Ori Ansbacher (Courtesy)

A court-imposed gag order on the case was partially lifted Friday to reveal the suspect’s arrest, but all other details of the murder investigation remain barred from publication.

Though a gag order has been imposed on most details, Israeli television reported Friday, there has been growing suspicion the killing was “nationalistic” — a term generally used to describe Palestinian terrorism.

Israel’s envoy to the UN, Danny Danon, called on Friday for the Security Council to condemn the brutal murder, while accusing the Palestinian Authority of fostering a “culture of terror” that led to the killing.

The body of Ansbacher was found at Ein Yael, which lies between the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo and the West Bank village of Walaja. The murder has been described by Israeli authorities as brutal; Ansbacher was said to have been stabbed multiple times.

Ansbacher was buried in her hometown, the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, on Friday, and politicians from across the political spectrum issued statements of condolence.

Friends and relatives attend the funeral of Ori Ansbacher, in the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, February 8, 2019 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“At this difficult hour we all embrace the Ansbacher family and the people of Tekoa. The security forces are investigating the murder — we will find those responsible for it, and we will bring the matter to justice,” Netanyahu pledged.

Ansbacher was carrying out a year of national service at a youth center in Jerusalem at the time of her death.

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