JERUSALEM, June 26 (JTA) — Israel is holding a Bedouin man in connection with the murder of two women in Wadi Kelt, a popular hiking site near Jericho, two months ago. The suspect was identified Thursday as Ahmed Mahmoud Ali Ka’abneh, a shepherd who lives near the site of the killing. At a news conference in Tel Aviv, senior Israel Defense Force and police officials disclosed that Ka’abneh, 27, was arrested two days after the murders of Liat Kastiel and Hagit Zavitzky, but that it had taken until now to verify the events of the case. Yossi Sidbon, the head of Judea and Samaria district police, said five members of Ka’abneh’s family had been detained and that his mother had already been charged with helping to destroy evidence. The commander of the IDF central command, Maj. Gen. Uzi Dayan, said the murders were not sexual attacks. Investigators said that while Ka’abneh acted alone, his motives were nationalistic. Ka’abneh, who admitted to the crime, led investigators to the site of the April 24 murders and described what he had done. Police said Ka’abneh told them that he had spotted the women near natural pools in Wadi Kelt, near Kfar Adumim, where Zavitzky lived. He suspected that they may have had weapons, and wanted to steal them. The women were not armed. Ka’abneh spoke with the two women briefly, then smashed their heads together and dragged them to a scrub-covered area, where he stabbed them repeatedly. He burned their clothing to get rid of the evidence, and hid his blood-soaked clothing, the knife he used to murder them and Kastiel’s camera in a cave. Ka’abneh later took investigators to the cave. The investigation was carried out jointly by the General Security Service and Israeli police. Israel briefed the Palestinian Authority on the investigation.
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