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Suspect in killing of ex-partner fails lie detector test, is ordered kept in custody

Walaa Khalilah denies killing Sapir Nachum, says he was arrested ‘only because of my TikTok video’; dozens protest violence against women outside home of soon-to-be PM Lapid

Walaa Khalilah appears at the Acre Magistrate's Court on June 26, 2022 (Screen grab/Kan public broadcaster)
Walaa Khalilah appears at the Acre Magistrate's Court on June 26, 2022 (Screen grab/Kan public broadcaster)

A man suspected of killing his former partner Sapir Nachum, whose body was found 11 days after she went missing, failed a polygraph test when questioned about her death, a court heard on Sunday.

During a hearing, the Acre Magistrate’s Court court was told that Walaa Khalilah failed the lie detector test during the investigation into the killing of Nachum, a 24-year-old mother of two.

“We are checking [Khalilah’s] version and it is incorrect. As for the most essential points, he claims that he does not remember. He has a clear motive for the murder,” investigators told the court.

Polygraph tests, discredited as junk science by most Western countries, are still widely used in Israeli criminal investigations.

Judge Ziad Saleh noted that while there was little progress in the investigation, there was enough evidence to warrant an extension of Khalilah’s custody until Thursday.

Khalilah, the father of Nachum’s two young children, had been arrested before for violent offenses and vandalism. Nachum’s relatives told Israeli media that he had previously served many years in prison.

Sapir Nachum (Police spokesperson’s unit)

Ahead of Sunday’s hearing, Khalilah, who has repeatedly declared his innocence, claimed he had been arrested “only because of the TikTok video.”

Khalilah was known to the public from TikTok, regularly uploading videos of his vandalism. He was recently arrested after entering Kibbutz Kfar Masaryk with a group of friends on a horse and cart and causing a disturbance, an incident that was filmed and posted to the social media app.

Nachum was last seen in person when she left her home on Herzl Street in Acre on June 2 with her 2-year-old daughter, whom she dropped off at daycare.

She was then seen in security footage entering a car belonging to Khalilah. Nachum was said to be involved in a financial dispute with her former partner.

Police uncovered her body near the Bedouin village of Ibtin — about 25 kilometers south of Acre — 11 days after she was last seen.

In addition to her 2-year-old daughter, Nachum is also survived by an 8-month-old baby.

Dozens of demonstrators protested violence against women outside the home of Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Saturday evening. Lapid is expected to become prime minister in the coming days with the expected dissolution of the Knesset, and he stepped outside to speak with the protesters.

Demonstrators outside Yair Lapid’s Tel Aviv home hold signs with images of women who have been killed, June 25, 2022 (Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90)

Women’s groups are concerned that the expected dispersal of the Knesset will delay a series of measures agreed on by the government aimed at protecting women from violence.

The demonstration was held after four women were recently murdered in the space of seven days. Protesters carried signs depicting the faces of women killed over the past few years, including Nachum.

According to a report published by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in January, there were 16 cases of women murdered in Israel by a relative or a partner throughout 2021, and 21 cases in 2020.

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