Police Suspect Murder After 21-year-old Israeli Woman Found Dead in Australia

Aya Masarwe, a student at Shanghai University, was in Melbourne on a study abroad program and will be buried in Israel

File photo: Police in Melbourne in 2017.
AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill

A 21-year-old Israeli woman was found dead in a train station in Melbourne, Australia on Wednesday.

Aya Masarwe.

While the cause of death is still under investigation, police suspect that Aya Masarwe, from the central Israeli city of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, was murdered, The Guardian reported.

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The Israeli consul in Canberra, Nir Reubinoff, and the Israeli Foreign Ministry are assisting in transferring Masarwe's casket to be buried in Israel.

Masarwe's uncle, Abed Katane, told Haaretz that Masarwe was studying Chinese and English at Shanghai University, and spent the past several months in Melbourne on a study abroad program.

"This announcement just came out of the blue, and we have no details at this point other than that she was murdered and that local police have placed a gag order on the investigation," Katane said.

According to the uncle, Masarwe's father has left for Melbourne and the family is in touch with the Foreign Ministry and with the Israeli Embassy in Australia in order to coordinate the body's return.

"It's not the type of thing you expect," Katane added. "She was an excellent student, full of life. She wasn't in a very dangerous country at all, and yet we are still receiving such a painful message."