Israeli security officials say 29-year-old Arafat Arfaiya of Hebron has confessed to murdering Ori Ansbacher, 19, of Tekoa, in the Jerusalem forest last Thursday.
Arfaiya was taken to Ein Yael forest on Sunday, where he reenacted the brutal slaying for Shin Bet intelligence agents and Israel Police in advance of his arraignment in court. He is scheduled to appear before a judge on Monday.
A statement issued by the Shin Bet on Saturday said he “left his home in Hebron with a knife and made his way to the village of Beit Jala” located on the southern outskirts of Jerusalem. From there, he “walked to the forest, where he saw Ori, attacked and murdered her,” the statement said. The teen was found in the Ein Yael forest hours later, brutally murdered with multiple stabs wounds to her upper body.
Arfaiya was arrested in an abandoned building near a mosque in Al Bireh, close to the Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah.
“The investigation … indicates that the murder was motivated by nationalism,” the Shin Bet said in an updated statement on Sunday evening. “During his interrogation, [Arfaiya] reconstructed the murder to Shin Bet and police interrogators, and connected himself clearly to the case. His interrogation is continuing and the details of the investigation are under a gag order,” the statement concluded.
The killer has previously served time for being in Israel illegally and for possession of a knife. Israeli authorities said he was linked to the murder “without question” due to DNA evidence found at the crime scene.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has said the attack should be classified as terrorism regardless of what the killer says during his interrogation.
“We must remember who we are dealing with here, and with which lowly and murderous nation,” Erdan said Saturday night. “There is no need for this unnecessary discussion.”