Two Bedouin Men Indicted for Killing Israeli Soldier in Stabbing Attack

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Half-brothers Khaled and Zahi Abu Judeh appear in Be'er Sheva District Court, December 24, 2017.
Half-brothers Khaled and Zahi Abu Judeh appear in Be'er Sheva District Court, December 24, 2017.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Two 22-year-old Israeli Bedouin half-brothers, Khaled and Zahi Abu Judeh, were indicted Sunday for their involvement in the murder of Ron Kukia, a 19-year-old soldier who had been waiting at a bus stop in Arad, a city in southern Israel.

Kukia, who was from Tel Aviv, was a combat soldier in the Nahal infantry brigade. Paramedics found him unconscious at a bus stop near a local mall, but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. Khaled Abu Judeh admitted to committing the attack.

According to the indictment filed with the Be’er Sheva District Court, over the course of this year Khaled Abu Judeh was influenced by videos about Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip, which asserted that Palestinian children were killed in bombings of the enclave. He also watched videos glorifying Hamas, the Islamist group that has general control of the Strip.

According to the indictment, Khaled Abu Judeh decided to carry out a terrorist attack on behalf of the Palestinian people and in support of Hamas. He is charged with terrorist-related premeditated murder and attempted murder, among other charges. Khaled Abu Judeh, who has a background in medical technology, allegedly sought to involve his half-brother Zahi in obtaining a weapon for the attack. He apparently also told Zahi that he planned to use anesthesia materials that he would obtain at Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, where he worked, to try to drug a soldier and steal his weapon.

Khaled Abu Judeh, who along with his half-brother is from the town of Kseifa in the northern Negev, was allegedly cruising around in nearby Arad on the evening of November 30, looking for a soldier. He spotted Kukia, who was alone and carrying a weapon. According to the charges, he then called Zahi to tell him that he had found a soldier with a weapon. Khaled Abu Judeh, armed with a knife, then got out of his car and allegedly stabbed Kukia a number of times. He stole his weapon and fled, leaving the soldier to bleed to death, the indictment states.

The half-brothers allegedly met at their home, where Khaled Abu Judeh is said to have shown Zahi the soldier’s weapon and the bloody knife he used to stab him. Khaled then allegedly dug a hole outside their family’s home and buried the weapon. After his arrest, Khaled Abu Judeh led the Shin Bet security service to the weapon.

Zahi Abu Judeh is charged in part with terrorist-related attempted murder, obstruction of justice and of being an accessory after the fact.

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