Arafat Irfaiya, Ori Ansbacher's murderer, brought to court.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Palestinian man suspected of murdering 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher in the Jerusalem Forest last week had his detention extended by 10 days on Monday.
Arafat Irfaiya, from Hebron, was remanded in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s court on charges of murdering and raping Ansbacher, whose nude body was found with multiple stab wounds in the forest by Ein Yael on Thursday.
According to press reports, the judge decided to hold the hearing behind closed doors but in photos released from the courtroom Irfaiya was seen wearing a brown prison uniform and with bruises and scabs on his forehead, nose and below his right eye. He also seemed to smirk and roll his eyes before the cameras.
Israel’s Channel 2 News quoted a relative as saying that it is important to understand that there is a much bigger issue than just Ansbacher’s murder.
“It is important to leave our private story aside and understand that there is bigger business here than Ori and the criminal who murdered her,” Ansbacher’s uncle, Boaz Bar-Yuda, said.
“It is important to understand that we are dealing with the war between the sons of light and the sons of darkness. We are good people. Ori was full of goodness, light and kindness. There are people here who are looking to do evil, and the gap between her joy and her light compared to what this criminal murderer symbolizes that.”
“We believe that the good will win, that its light will win – that good must prevail,” Ansbacher’s uncle continued, adding that “Everything must be done for them to understand that such wickedness has no place anywhere.”
On Sunday night, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said the attack was nationalistically motivated and that Irfaiya had reconstructed the murder in the woods at Ein Yael on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
The Shin Bet said that he “left his home in Hebron with a knife and made his way to the village of Beit Jala,” just south of Jerusalem and from there, he “walked to the forest, where he saw Ori, attacked and murdered her.”
In a joint operation by the IDF, the Shin Bet and the Israel Border Police’s YAMAM counter-terrorism unit, Irfaiya was arrested in an abandoned building near the Jamal Abdel-Nasser Mosque in el-Bireh adjoining Ramallah following intelligence received by security forces.
According to reports, authorities identified him as the murder suspect “without question” through DNA evidence found at the murder scene.
Most details of the case remain under police gag order.
Irfaiya, who has family members connected with Hamas, has disseminated propaganda for the group. He previously served time for being in Israel illegally and for possession of a knife.
According to a report by Channel 13 news, during his interrogation after he was arrested in possession of a knife in 2017 at the entrance to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, he told his interrogators that he wished to become a “martyr” or be incarcerated in an Israeli prison.
“I will do it again. I want to be martyr,” he told investigators, according to transcripts leaked by the channel. “I would do whatever it takes to go to prison, and if you let me go, I’ll come back here with a knife so that I will either get sent to prison or become a martyr.”
Ansbacher’s murder sparked outrage across Israel, with Interior Minister Gilad Erdan accusing the Palestinians of having a “murderous culture.”
“We have to remember with what lowly and murderous people we are talking to about agreements and processes. This is a very broad phenomenon of terrorism that we deal with. This is a people whose cultural codes are murderous,” he said.
Early on Sunday morning IDF troops mapped Irfaiya’s home ahead of its likely demolition. Troops entered Hebron in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday to measure the structure “to evaluate ways to demolish it,” the army said in a statement.
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