Israel to demolish Palestinian murder suspect’s home

Israeli authorities are threatening to demolish this building which houses Arafat Irfaiya, a Palestinian suspected of killing a young Israeli woman, in the flashpoint city of Hebron in the south of the occupied West Bank. (AFP / HAZEM BADER)
Updated 10 February 2019
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Israel to demolish Palestinian murder suspect’s home

  • Israeli authorities said the suspect was arrested over the weekend and has not yet been charged
  • Irfaiya is suspected ot murdering Ori Ansbacher, a 19-year-old Israeli woman last week

JERUSALEM: The Israeli Army said on Sunday it had started preparations to demolish the West Bank home of a Palestinian suspected of killing an Israeli woman.

“Overnight, troops operated in Hebron, where the suspect in the murder of Ori Ansbacher is from,” the army said in an English-language statement.

“During the operation, the troops surveyed the suspect’s house in order to examine the possibility of its demolition.”

The suspect was arrested over the weekend and has not yet been charged.

The body of Ansbacher, 19, was found late on Thursday in southeast Jerusalem, and she was buried the next day in her Israeli settlement of Tekoa.

Israeli security forces arrested the suspect in a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

The Shin Bet security service named him as 29-year-old Arafat Irfaiya from Hebron.

Both the police and Shin Bet have said investigations have so far not found conclusively whether the killing was a “terrorist attack” or from other motives.

In the runup to Israel’s general election in April, however, politicians and Israeli media appeared to have no such doubts on Sunday.

“I have no doubts about the nationalist motives of the murderer,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told public radio.

“After so many years of suffering from terror we should know — this is a nationalist attack.”

Commenting on calls to execute Palestinian militant killers, Erdan said he was in favor of applying the death penalty in certain circumstances.

“If it becomes clear that there is no possibility of rehabilitating the murderer and that he abused his victim, in such cases capital punishment should be applied,” he said.

“The time has come to employ the death penalty for terrorists, as the law allows us to do,” the daily Maariv quoted MP Bezalel Smotrich of the far right Jewish Home party as saying.

Despite a court gag order, Israeli social media were abuzz over the weekend with what Yediot Aharonot newspaper called “graphic descriptions about the alleged nature of the murder.”

Police called on the public not to share “publications and reports, especially on social media, about the circumstances of the murder case, including irresponsible horrific descriptions.”

“We hereby clarify that those are completely baseless publications,” police said.


Egypt expresses dismay to UK envoy over British Airways flight suspension

Updated 2 min 26 sec ago
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Egypt expresses dismay to UK envoy over British Airways flight suspension

  • British Airways suspended flights to Cairo on Saturday for seven days “as a security precaution”
  • The British embassy in Cairo could not immediately be reached for comment

CAIRO: Egypt’s aviation minister on Sunday expressed his dismay over British Airways’ decision to suspend flights to the Egyptian capital to the UK’s ambassador to Cairo.
International Airlines Group’s British Airways suspended flights to Cairo on Saturday for seven days “as a security precaution” as it reviews security at the city’s airport.
Later on Saturday, Germany’s Lufthansa said it had canceled services from Munich and Frankfurt to Cairo but it resumed flights on Sunday.
Air France, Emirates and Etihad Airways continued to operate flights to Cairo.
Younis Al-Masry “expressed his displeasure at British Airways taking a decision unilaterally concerning the security of Egyptian airports without referring to the competent Egyptian authorities,” the aviation ministry said in a statement released after a meeting between the Egyptian aviation minister and British Ambassador Geoffrey Adams.
The statement went on to say that Adams had apologized for not informing Egyptian authorities before the decision was made and cited him as saying the flight suspension was not related to the security measures at Egyptian airports.
The British embassy in Cairo could not immediately be reached for comment.
A spokesman for Air France, in a statement sent to Reuters, said the airline had decided to maintain its service to Cairo after liasing with French and Egyptian authorities.
An Emirates spokeswoman said its flights were operating to schedule.
“We are closely assessing the situation and are in contact with the relevant aviation authorities with regards to our flight operations to Egypt,” the spokeswoman said.
The website for Abu Dhabi’s Etihad showed its services were also operating and a spokesman said the airline was monitoring the security situation in Cairo.
Tourism, a key source of foreign revenue for Egypt, has been recovering after visitor numbers dropped in the wake of a 2011 uprising and the 2015 bombing of a Russian jet, which killed all 224 people on board shortly after takeoff.
That attack, which was claimed by Islamic State, prompted Russia to halt all flights to Egypt for several years and a number of countries including Britain to cease flights to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh, which have yet to resume.