RON YITZHAK KUKIA.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The Beduin citizen of Israel who admitted killing Sgt. Ron Yitzhak Kokia in Arad last month had originally intended to kidnap him, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said on Friday.
Kokia, 19, serving in the IDF’s Nahal Brigade, was stabbed to death while he was waiting at a bus stop outside a shopping mall in the southern city on November 30. The attackers took his Tavor assault rifle.
The Shin Bet also revealed that the two suspected attackers, Arab citizens of Israel, were arrested the day after the attack.
The two men, Khaled and Zawin Abu Jouda, are residents of an unrecognized Beduin village in the Negev. While they had no criminal record, the investigation revealed that Khaled identifies with various terrorist organizations and that he harbors extremist beliefs.An indictment
is expected to be issued against the two men on Sunday.
Khaled admitted to carrying out the attack, “out of a desire to do something on behalf of the Palestinians, and as revenge for IDF activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip,” the Shin Bet said.
Khaled told investigators that he had originally planned to kidnap a soldier using anesthetics that he planned to steal from Beersheba’s Soroka-University Medical Center where he worked, in order to use him as a bargaining chip to secure the release of Palestinian security prisoners held by Israel.
He bought a getaway car and began stashing money he intended to use while living on the run, the Shin Bet said.
According to the agency, Zawin acted as Khaled’s confidant and helped him after the attack.
Over the course of October and November the two suspects allegedly drove around Arad looking for a soldier they could kidnap and kill, and whose rifle they could use to carry out more attacks.
Kokia was buried in Tel Aviv’s Kiryat Shaul Military Cemetery, with some 2,000 people in attendance.
Eulogizing his son, Boaz Kokia said that “our Ron was brought up to love and respect people, in both our family and society at large, but he was also brought up to ‘respect them and suspect them,’ especially as it pertains to strangers. I think Ron may not have been suspicious enough on Thursday night, when he was murdered by the lowest of the low: Israel’s enemies from within.”