A 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death in Rehovot early on Sunday, marking the fifth violent death in a wave of homicides around the country in recent days.

Orgil Mauti was walking near his home in southern Rehovot late at night when he came across three youths. Police suspect that the youths were “offended” in the past by Mauti. When they saw him again, a verbal altercation ensued, then the youths began pursuing Mauti on foot.

They caught up with him on a footpath near a kindergarten, where one of the youths produced a knife and stabbed Mauti in the chest repeatedly. The suspects then fled the scene.

Local residents who heard the commotion alerted emergency services, but by the time Magen David Adom paramedics arrived on the scene, Mauti had lost a large amount of blood and was slipping out of consciousness.

“He was in critical condition. We rushed him to hospital, but he lost his pulse in the ambulance. We proceeded to try and revive him,” MDA spokesman Zaki Heller said.

Doctors continued to try and save him at the Kaplan Medical Center, but pronounced him dead soon afterwards.

Police arrested three suspects, and believe one of them is the stabber. On Sunday afternoon, the main murder suspect, who is a minor and has previous criminal convictions, recreated the attack before detectives.

The Rehovot Youth Magistrate’s Court extended his remand until May 14.

On Sunday morning, stunned relatives and friends gathered near the family’s home, situated on a street with modern five-story apartment buildings, while a man poured soapy water on the sidewalk to brush away the bloodstains.

“Another minute and he would have been home. Poor guy,” said a tearful woman as she stood nearby.

“He always smiled. He was happy. I never saw him upset and never saw him harm anyone,” said Raphel Ohana, 18, who was acquainted with the murder victim.



Ohana said many youths walked around the area in groups and that many were armed with knives.

“He may have looked at them the wrong way. That could be enough,” he said. “We always walk around in groups [to defend ourselves] at night... We stick together, and try to avoid confrontations with others. We could be stabbed.”

“I feel like I’m still sleeping. I can’t believe this happened,” said Yair Kokolai, another friend. “He liked to wander around with us. He always laughed.”

Other residents expressed anger at the police.

“This is a disaster. I don’t buy the claim that the police have a budget problem,” one man said.

Mauti’s father is a senior officer in the IDF, and was called to the family home soon after news of the attack broke.

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