Murder of Israeli Woman Motivated by Cancer Death of Palestinian Prisoner, Shin Bet Says

Muhammad Maruh Kabha, who is suspected of killing Esther Horgen near her West Bank settlement last month, told investigators he was influenced by the death of a high-profile prisoner

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The scene of the murder of Esther Horgen in the northern West Bank, December 21, 2020.
The scene of the murder of Esther Horgen in the northern West Bank, December 21, 2020.Credit: Rami Shllush
Yaniv Kubovich

A Palestinian man suspected of the politically motivated murder of Israeli Esther Horgen in December did so following the death of a Palestinian security prisoner from illness, the Shin Bet security service said Monday.

According to Shin Bet, Muhammad Maruh Kabha, who served time in an Israeli prison for terror-related offenses, attacked Horgen when she was alone in a forest near the settlement of Tel Menashe.

Kabha told investigators that he decided to carry out the attack because he was influenced by the death of a senior Palestinian security prisoner that he knew, Kamal Abu Waer, who was serving a life sentence, the Israeli security service said.

Muhammad Maroh KabhaCredit: Shin Bet security service

Shin Bet documents show that Abu Waer was arrested in 2003 for his involvement in terror attacks that killed four Israelis and wounded nine during the second intifada. Although he contracted and recovered from the coronavirus in July, he died of cancer about a month and a half before Horgen’s murder.

The Shin Bet said in a statement that he chose the site of the murder, in the northern West Bank, because so few people pass through it, and the majority are Israeli. He accessed the area through a hole in the separation barrier. On December 20, while he was at the location, he noticed Horgen, a 52-year-old mother of six, and attacked her.

Kabha, a resident of Tura al-Gharbiyeh, near Jenin, was arrested on December 24, four days after the murder. During questioning, the Shin Bet learned that he was hidden by associates and acquaintances from the village of Deir al-Ghusun. Four other people were arrested alongside him for helping him escape. The Shin Bet said that when the investigation is over, Kabha is likely to stand trial at the military court in Shomron.  

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