5 Palestinians held for murder of child

Thought responsible for strangling 8-year-old Lipaz Himi in Beit Shemesh.

lipaz himi 298.88 (photo credit: Channel 1)
lipaz himi 298.88
(photo credit: Channel 1)
Five Palestinians were under arrest Thursday in connection with the murder of eight-year-old Lipaz Himi in a Beit Shemesh market, police said. The body of Himi was discovered around 12:30 a.m. by a Palestinian worker near a stairwell at the rear of the Beit Shemesh market, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. The intoxicated Palestinian laborer who found the body, along with four other illegal Palestinian workers in the market, were apprehended by police shortly after the girl's body was found. She was covered with bruises, especially around the neck, indicating she had been strangled, police said. Beit Shemesh police chief Oz Eliasi said that police were investigating the motive for the murder and whether the girl was killed where her body was found, on a mattress in a stairwell in the rear section of the "Shouk Kanyon" market. It was not immediately clear how many of the five suspects were involved in the attack. Police were also investigating whether the girl, who was found fully dressed, was sexually molested before being murdered. After Himi failed to return home on Wednesday night, family members went out to look for her in the usually tranquil residential city located between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Only after the call had been made to police that the body was found did the girl's mother, noticing the ambulances at the market several hundred meters from her home, call police and inform them her daughter was missing. Social workers were sent to the girl's home to notify the parents of her death. Lipaz's uncle, Shlomo Himi, said he believed that the murder was a terror attack, insisting that the illegal Palestinian workers in the market killed her. "We are a quiet family, with no involvement in crime," he said. "She was a girl who loved to roam outside and walk around," he added. Himi's body was transferred to the L. Greenberg Institute for Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir for an autopsy later in the morning. Himi, who is survived by her parents and four brothers, was buried Thursday evening in Beit Shemesh. A police-sanctioned court gag order was imposed on the case Thursday morning by a Jerusalem court as the murder investigation proceeded. The gag order bars the publication of the suspects' names, their pictures, and any other information about the ongoing police investigation.