Israel Police officer 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A 21-year-old Palestinian man was arrested on Monday evening on suspicion of
raping a 17-year-old girl at knife-point and forcing her boyfriend to watch
earlier this week in the heart of Tel Aviv.
Police, who were under
massive public pressure to solve the case, arrested the suspect on a street near
the scene of the crime, in the vicinity of the Gan Ha’ir parking lot of the
municipality. He is a resident of the West Bank, from a village near Nablus, and
has a few minor criminal offenses on his record which do not include sexual assaults.
Five additional suspects were also
arrested and due to be questioned throughout Monday night to determine the level
of their alleged involvement.
Asked by The Jerusalem Post whether the
attack was planned or random, a senior police source said it was too soon to
tell, but that it was possible the attack was part of an ambush.
say with pride that the main suspect is in custody,” the source said. “We hope
to have a clearer picture by Tuesday morning.”
The source added that the
suspect was caught using “classic police” investigation techniques, though he
did not elaborate. “He knows north Tel Aviv very well. He knows the streets.
He’s been here for a while.”
“He carried out irregular jobs
periodically,” police added.
Police are also checking to see whether the
suspect carried out additional offenses.
The arrest was made by a special
team of detectives investigating the incident from the Yarkon police
subdistrict, which is headed Asst.- Cmdr. Yoram Ohayon.
18-year-old boyfriend, who was also held at knife-point during the ordeal, said
he was forced to watch their attacker rape his girlfriend for three
Police said the suspect also forced the couple to carry out sexual
acts on one another.
The youth, who gave an interview to Yediot Aharonot,
said he chose not to attack the rapist for fear of “what he would do to [his
Describing the ordeal in detail, he said the attacker
punched him every time he asked for him to stop.
At one point, the youth
said, he took off his belt with the aim of attacking the rapist, but changed his
mind due to fear for his girlfriend.
After committing the rape, the
suspect stole both of their phone, and answered a call from the girl’s father,
before throwing the devices in the garbage, police said.
focused the search on an Arab suspect based on the eyewitness testimonies of the
couple, who described their attacker as having a Middle Eastern appearance and
speaking with an Arabic accent, police sources said Sunday.
recovered DNA evidence and have sent it to a lab for processing, while also
sifting through closed-circuit video footage from the area.