TEL AVIV (Oct. 22)
A manhunt is under way for a 32-year-old West Bank Palestinian suspected of committing the worst criminally motivated mass murders in Israel’s history.
So far, seven bodies have been found in Tel Aviv and Jaffa five women and two men all linked to drug-dealing and prostitution.
Police officials said the killing apparently stemmed from a dispute over money. But they do not entirely rule out a political motive as well even though most of the victims were Arabs.
The suspect’s name and description are being withheld for the time being.
But Police Inspector General David Kraus said at a news briefing over the weekend that as a consequence of the crimes, the police may review their policy of allowing Palestinians from the administered territories who have criminal records to stay overnight in Tel Aviv.
In general, Palestinians from the territories working in Israel require special permits from the security authorities to spend the night in Tel Aviv, even if their records are clean.
The murder suspect and his Arab victims had work and resident permits issued by the authorities.
The crimes were discovered Friday, after the resident of an apartment house in the Shapira quarter, a poor working-class neighborhood in southern Tel Aviv, complained to police of a stench emanating from a ground-floor apartment.
FOUR BODIES FOUND IN JAFFA
On breaking into the apartment, police discovered the decomposing bodies of two women and a man, partially naked with black nylon cords around their necks. A police pathologist estimated they had been dead for 36 hours.
One of the women was identified as Miriam Abbas, 32, a Christian Arab born in Acre, who was the mother of four children.
The man was identified as Ali Khasein, 65, who lived in a stable in southern Tel Aviv. Police said Khasein was a known drug addict and pimp who was a friend of Abbas.
Neighbors said the apartment was rented to an Arab prostitute who frequented the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv. According to police, the suspect removed all items from the apartment that might connect him with the victims.
Nevertheless, clues found in that investigation led detectives Saturday morning to an apartment on Yehuda Hayamit Street in Jaffa, where they found four more naked bodies. Three of the victims were identified, all of them with police records.