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July 6, 2014 10:01 am

Police: Israeli Arab Killed Shelly Dadon in Suspected Terror Attack

avatar by Dave Bender

Shelly Dadon, the 20-year-old resident of Afula whose body was found on Thursday in the woods near Migdal Haemek. Photo: Dadon family.

Shelly Dadon, the 20-year-old resident of Afula whose body was found on Thursday in the woods near Migdal Haemek. Photo: Dadon family.

Israel Police on Sunday announced that an Israeli Arab was behind the murder of 20-year-old Shelly Dadon in an empty parking lot in northern Israel on May 1, and that the killer is suspected to have had nationalistic motives.

The suspect is Hussein Khalifa, 34, from Iblin, a taxi driver who drove workers to and from factories in the Migdal Haemek industrial zone, according to the ISA – Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).

“During ISA questioning, Hussein Khalifa confessed to murdering Dadon and disclosed many details regarding the murder,” Shin Bet investigators said in a statement.

“On the morning of the day of the murder, after dropping off workers at one of the factories as he did daily, he continued toward the center of town (Migdal Haemek) where he picked up the deceased. She requested that he drive her to a job interview in the industrial zone. He drove her to an abandoned parking lot on the outskirts of the industrial zone (not far from her requested destination) where he stabbed her to death and fled the scene in his cab.

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“According to his version, after perpetrating the murder, Hussein Khalifa threw away the murder weapon and the deceased’s cellphone as he fled the scene, and later washed bloodstains from his cab. He also threw away the deceased’s wallet near the community of Beit Zarzir.

“While Hussein Khalifa’s motives have yet to be fully clarified, the ISA assessment is that the murder was perpetrated for nationalistic reasons,” the Shin Bet statement read.

The announcement comes after a months-long investigation into Dadon’s death.

Police chief, Yohanan Danino, has been updating the family on the latest developments in the probe, the details of which were under a media gag order until Sunday’s announcement.

Her parents had filed a missing persons report at the police station in nearby Afula soon after Dadon’s body was found.

“For Shelly’s parents, it’s as though she was murdered only a few days ago,” a relative told Israeli daily, Ma’ariv. “They’re not able to get over it, and it looks like they’ll need psychological counseling” in order to cope with the continuing trauma, he added.

Northern District Police Commander Moshe Cohen said at the time that initial evidence found at the scene led investigators to focus on nationalistic motives, Israel’s Channel 10 reported.

“The investigation has made very great strides, which can only be described as dramatic,” Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitz told family members at a condolence visit, according to The Times of Israel. “The murderers will be arrested soon and will pay the price,” he vowed, calling the killing “one of the most despicable acts.”

Nine days after the murder, some 2,000 people marched in Afula in Dadon’s memory and called for the punishment of the perpetrators, holding signs that read “Shelly’s blood is our blood,” “Netanyahu – wake up” and “Shelly was murdered and the nation is silent.”

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