Police on Tuesday arrested two more suspects in the investigation of the murder of 16-year-old Yara Ayoub, who was found dead in her Galilee hometown of Jish a day earlier.
The two, a 50-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man, bring the total number of suspects linked to Ayoub’s murder to four, all residents of the Arab village of some 3,000.
Police on Monday identified the primary suspect in the murder as a 28-year-old man from the village who is believed to be the last person to have seen Ayoub before she disappeared last Wednesday. He also faces charges of kidnapping and obstruction of the investigation. The second suspect, a 54-year-old man, is believed to have aided the first after the crime was committed.
Both suspects on Tuesday saw their remand extended by the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court until December 5.
Ayoub’s funeral at the Muslim cemetery in Jish began at 10 p.m. on Tuesday.
During the day, her classmates from the local high school paid a condolence visit to her family home.
“I knew Yara well,” one classmate told Hadashot TV news. “She was a good girl with a good heart. Helped everyone. It’s shocking. We don’t understand how this happened.”
Ayoub’s father told the Ynet news site on Monday, “I miss my precious daughter. Ask about her in the village. You won’t find anyone who has anything bad to say about her.”
Another friend, Karin Issa, told the site that Ayoub “was very good and kind. We all loved her.”
After her body was found on Monday, conflicting rumors and theories began to circulate on social media about the circumstances of her death.
Family members on Tuesday asked the public to refrain from spreading such rumors.
“It hurts us,” said one close family friend. “It hurts the family, the friends, her mother who’s in a bad state. The rumors hurt her, and I’m calling on everyone, especially on social networks, to stop with the rumors.”
“We’re law-abiding people,” Mahmoud Said, Ayoub’s cousin, told Hadashot, “and we’re waiting to see the conclusions of the investigation. There’s an investigation underway, and there’s a gag order. We know who police have arrested and we’re waiting for the truth to come out.”
Many of the details of the investigation, including the identities of the suspects, are under a court-ordered gag order for fear that their publication could hinder the investigation.
The main suspect has denied the charges against him. In a statement Monday, his attorney said that police have linked him to the crime because they believe he was the last person who was in contact with Ayoub.
“I believe that upon completion of the investigation he will be released home,” the lawyer asserted.
Ayoub was last seen on November 21 at 5 p.m. when she walked into a bakery in Jish. She disappeared after that, triggering a five-day search in the village and neighboring region until her body was found in an alley next to a business establishment in the village on Monday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday announced he would chair a new ministerial committee dedicated to combating violence against women, and called for “much more” to be done to counter the phenomenon in Israel.
Speaking to the cabinet on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women after visiting a women’s shelter, Netanyahu noted the increase in violence against women in Israel in recent years, calling it “a criminal phenomenon” and promising stricter enforcement.