Police believe TA rape suspect is Arab

Senior law enforcement sources deny reports that suspect fled to West Bank.

Israel Police officer 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Israel Police officer 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Police believe a rape suspect who launched a vicious assault on a young couple in Tel Aviv is from the Arab community, senior law enforcement sources said Sunday.
The knife-wielding suspect assaulted an 18-year-old man and his 17-year-old girlfriend at the Gan HaIr parking lot near the Tel Aviv Municipality, forcing them to carry out sexual acts with one another, before raping the woman in a bathroom stall early on Saturday.
The decision to focus the search on an Arab suspect is 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.
But the sources dismissed media reports that said police feared the suspect may have been a Palestinian in Israel illegally who fled to the West Bank, saying the reports were little more than baseless speculation.
Detectives from the Yarkon police subdistrict recovered DNA evidence and sent it to a lab for processing, while also sifting through CCTV footage from the area.
The man and his girlfriend arrived at the parking lot to collect their car, when a suspect armed with a knife suddenly arrived and began striking the couple.
Threatening to assault them again, the suspect forced the couple into a bathroom, and ordered them to have sexual relations with one another, police said. He then raped the girl, before fleeing the scene.
“She and her boyfriend will never forget his face,” the girl’s mother told Channel 10.