Two Beduin say they went out for pizza after murdering soldier

According to the indictment, Khaled spotted Kokia waiting for a bus alone on November 30 and decided to carry out the attack.

December 25, 2017 01:59
4 minute read.
Ron Yitzhak Kokia

Ron Yitzhak Kokia. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

After allegedly murdering IDF soldier Sgt. Ron Yitzhak Kokia last month outside a shopping mall in Arad, the two Beduin men went out for pizza to establish a false alibi that they were elsewhere at the time of the murder.

During the indictment of Khaled Abu Jouda and his half-brother Zahi on Sunday in the Beersheba District Court, Kokia’s parents called for the death penalty against their son’s attackers.

Calling the two men “scum” and “cowards” as they were brought into the courtroom, Kokia’s father, Boaz, was quoted by Walla! As saying that “the punishment has to be comprehensive. The death penalty is what the murderers deserve, or at the very least a very long sentence.”

“I call on the court to be tough with the murderers and their family members who contributed to the murder with their criminal behavior,” he said, adding that the punishment also has to be economic. “This is important to give us, the family of the victim, justice, and also to deter other potential murderers.”

Kokia, 19, a sergeant 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 of Arad on November 30. His Tavor assault rifle was also taken by the attackers, later identified as 22-year-old Khaled Abu Jouda and his half-brother Zahi.

Khaled was charged with premeditated murder, attempted murder, illegal possession of a knife, and making preparations to commit a terror attack – all of which are considered acts of terrorism. Zahi was charged with two terrorism-related offenses – attempted murder and illegal possession of a knife, as well as aiding and abetting after the fact and obstruction of justice.

Kokia’s mother, Levana, also urged the death penalty for her son’s killers, saying she hopes “to see the murderer with a black bag over his head. But it looks like we won’t get a hanging and we won’t get a death penalty, but we’ll go as far as we can.”

The two residents of the unrecognized Bedouin village of Kuseife in the Negev were arrested the day after the attack. While they had no previous criminal record, the investigation revealed that Khaled identified with various terror organizations and that he harbored extremist beliefs.

The indictment filed on Sunday revealed that Khaled watched numerous videos of IDF operations in the Gaza Strip and videos praising Hamas. Radicalized by the videos, Khaled began praising Islam and Allah on his Facebook page, writing on October 30, “Allah, protect the land of the Muslims, bring down your enemies, the enemies of the faith, and give us victory over the tribe of heretics.”

Following that post Khaled is believed to have decided to carry out an attack against an IDF soldier to show his support for the Palestinian people and Hamas.

Khaled told investigators during his interrogation that he had originally planned to kidnap a soldier using anesthetics that he was planning to steal from Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center where he worked in order to use the soldier as a bargaining chip to secure the release of Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails.

According to the indictment, he purchased a Renault Megane to use as a getaway car and withdrew NIS 54,000 that he intended to use while living on the run.

At some point Khaled told Zahi of his plans, and asked him to find an armed soldier to attack. The two decided on the word “pizza” to use as a code word for “weapon” so that they could discuss their plans without being caught.

During October and November the two drove around Arad, including the Tel Arad military base, looking for a soldier who was alone who they could kidnap and kill, and use his rifle to carry out more attacks. During their multiple scouting drives they spotted many soldiers walking alone at night, but decided against attacking them since they were unarmed.

According to the indictment, Khaled spotted Kokia waiting for a bus alone on November 30 and decided to carry out the attack. He then called Zahi and told him that there was “pizza.” Khaled exited his car armed with a knife and approached Kokia from behind, stabbing him several times in his neck and head.

Kokia fought to prevent his weapon from being taken but Khaled eventually overpowered him and escaped the scene, leaving Kokia behind. Returning back to Kuseife, Khaled told Zahi that he had carried out their plan, showing his half-brother the bloodied knife and the soldier’s Tavor assault rifle.

The two hid the weapon and washed the blood from the knife. They then went out for pizza to establish their alibi. Meanwhile, bleeding from his neck and mouth, Kokia was able to walk several steps to the road where he was seen by a passerby saying “I am dying, I am dying.”

He was declared dead shortly thereafter by Magen David Adom paramedics who had rushed to the scene. Kokia was laid to rest in Tel Aviv’s Kiryat Shaul Military Cemetery, with some 2,000 people attending his funeral.

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