Pregnant Israeli Woman Dies After Head Injury That Led to Husband's Arrest

29-year-old Rahat woman's family says husband called to say she'd fallen in the shower, while father says couple had problems but there was no physical violence

Almog Ben Zikri
Almog Ben Zikri
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The suspect in the murder of a Rahat woman is brought to court for a remand hearing on June 12, 2020.
The suspect in the murder of a Rahat woman is brought to court for a remand hearing on June 12, 2020.Credit:
Almog Ben Zikri
Almog Ben Zikri

A 29-year-old pregnant woman from the southern city of Rahat died in hospital in the night between Saturday and Sunday, after suffering a head injury at her home on Thursday night in a suspected case of domestic violence.

The woman, who was named by police on Sunday morning as Rawan al-Katnani, was 22-weeks pregnant.

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Police opened an investigation and arrested her husband, 32, on suspicion of attacking her. The Be'er Sheva Magistrate's Court kept the man in detention over the weekend, and will be brought in front of the court on Sunday, on charges of reckless manslaughter and obstruction of justice. The couple had three children together, ranging in age from five to nine.

Police say that they received a call at around 1:30 A.M. saying that a woman in Rahat, which is largely Bedouin, was in need of medical care after "a significant head injury." The woman was evacuated to Soroka Medical Center. Police arrived at the scene, and detained some family members for questioning before deciding to arrest the woman's husband.

The woman's father said the husband called her mother around 3:30 A.M. and said her head was bleeding after falling in the shower. According to the father, the mother replied, "You killed my daughter." The father added that the couple's relationship was fraught with problems, and that they were coerced into reconciliation a number of times, but said the husband did not beat her and that she did not want to divorce him.

"She would come to us and say 'Dad, he doesn't treat me respectfully,'" the father said. "I told her she has children and that she should try to safeguard her home, and that things would work out."  

The husband's attorney, public defender Mosleam Areata, said that the husband has no prior convictions. "He denies his guilt and is cooperating with the investigators," Areata said.  

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