Two Charged With Murdering Galilee Teen Girl Over Money

    Mohammad Maraee Abu Zeinab and a minor indicted in November killing of 16-year-old Yara Ayoub, which sparked women’s rights protests

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    People cover the fresh grave of 16-year-old Yara Ayoub whose body was found at the cemetery in the northern village of Jish on November 27, 2018. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

    Prosecutors filed an indictment on Thursday against two residents of northern Israel for the murder of an Arab Israeli teenager, releasing some details of her gruesome slaying.

    Yara Ayoub, 16, was found dead in an alley in her Galilee hometown of Jish in November, several days after she went missing, fueling protests over violence against women and domestic violence across the country.

    According to the indictment filed at the Nazareth District Court, on November 23, 28-year-old Mohammad Maraee Abu Zeinab and a male minor, both from Jish, slit Ayoub’s throat in a bakery managed by Abu Zeinab and stabbed her numerous times.

    They then allegedly threw Ayoub’s body in a dumpster, where it was found three days later.

    Prosecutors said Abu Zeinab decided to kill Ayoub after being forced to give her hundreds of shekels on a number of occasions in the months before the murder, but did not explain why he needed to pay her.

    The name of the minor, who is 17, is barred from publication under a court order, as are further details of the case.

    “Police managed to solve the case even though it was complicated,” a source familiar with the investigation told Hadashot TV news earlier this week.

    But a defense attorney for the suspects, Falah Basel, said that the prosecutors were simply swayed by public opinion..

    “Despite all the problems and the question marks, the prosecution decided to file an indictment,” Basel said earlier this week, according to the TV report. “On the face of it, it seems that the submission is due to public pressure and not because of the — weak — evidence in the case.”

    People cover the fresh grave of 16-year-old Yara Ayoub whose body was found at the cemetery in the northern village of Jish on November 27, 2018. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

    The mother, father, and brother of one of the prime suspects were all previously arrested and then released to house arrest by the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court. Police sources have said they may yet be charged as accessories in Ayoub’s killing, Channel 10 news reported in December.

    Ayoub’s killing shocked the quiet village of some 3,000, leading local schools and businesses to close in protest.

    She was last seen on November 23 at 5 p.m. when she walked into a bakery in Jish. She disappeared a short while later, triggering a three-day search in the village and neighboring region until her body was found on November 26.

    Her death, along with that of 13-year-old Sylvana Tsegai in Tel Aviv — allegedly carried out by her mother’s former boyfriend — led to a public outcry over government inaction on violence targeting women.

    On December 4, thousands of women across the country went on strike, with marches and protest events held throughout the day.