Husband of slain Lod woman is prime suspect, police say

City undergoing crisis of confidence, community relations official says.

April 7, 2011 03:26
3 minute read.
Israel police car

police car 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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The husband of a woman who police say was shot dead in an execution-style slaying in Lod on Tuesday night was arrested as the main suspect overnight.

Khaled Abu Zaaluk was brought to the Ramle Magistrate’s Court for a remand hearing o Wednesday morning.

His custody was extended until next Tuesday.

Khaled’s brother, Muhammad Abu Zaaluk, was also arrested and kept in custody on suspicion of being linked to the shooting, as the investigation continues.

Yasmin Abu Zaaluk’s body was found with bullet wounds in a field in Lod on Tuesday night. The slaying is the third brutal killing of a woman in the city since October, in what police suspect are “family honor” killings.

Yasmin had been under threat for some time. A police spokeswoman said she went missing a year ago, leading to a large scale search involving hundreds of officers. She was found, and urged by police to move to a shelter for abused women for her own protection.

But community notables in Lod told Yasmin to return to her husband, assuring her that the threat had passed.

Several months later, Yasmin was shot at by an unknown gunman while she stood with another woman near her home. Police arrested her husband, and urged her once more to move to safe location.

On that occasion as well, Yasmin was given assurances by community notables that she was safe, and she therefore refused to cooperate with investigators, police said.

“We closed the case,” the spokeswoman added.

“We urge women in general, and women within the Arab community specifically, to cooperate with police for their safety,” the spokeswoman said.

Attorney Reda Jaber is the coordinator of Arab Society – Police Relations Initiative, a project of the Jerusalem-based Abraham Fund.

Jaber said the slaying has led to double crisis of confidence in Lod.

“Everything begins with creating confidence,” he said.

“Police must go beyond issuing warnings. If there was a chance to protect her, if there is intelligence on threats to her, she should have been given active protection.

“At the same time, she was given promises by notables that she would be safe, that nothing bad would happen to her. And yet she was murdered.

This is despicable, and unprecedented in Arab society,” Jaber said.

“It sounds very bad for police to say, we warned you. The warnings are based on information, and information can be acted on,” he added. “But that doesn’t mean that the community in Lod should not denunciate this shocking, senseless murder.

“Harm has been done to confidence within Arab society as well, he said. “Harm has been inflicted on the confidence of Arab women in Arab society. A woman who receives promises that things will be taken care of, and she is then murdered, is a signal to other women about the lack of credibility in the community.”

The killing is a call of action for both police, which should initiate active protection of women under threat, and to Arab society, which should take steps to prevent similar killings, Jaber said.

On Thursday, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, who has condemned the culture of “honor killings” last year following previous murders in Lod, will launch a municipal policing program in Lod.

The project will see municipal security personnel being given police training and increased powers, such as arrest, in order to multiply the number of police on the ground.

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