Man Arrested at Tel Aviv Airport for Ex-wife's Murder While He Was Abroad

Rabab Abu Siam's ex-husband was out of the country when she was shot to death last week, but police suspect he ordered her killing and paid for it

Ran Shimoni
Ran Shimoni
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Police at the scene of Rabab Abu Siam's murder in Lod, in July.
Police at the scene of Rabab Abu Siam's murder in Lod, in July.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Ran Shimoni
Ran Shimoni

Police arrested on Wednesday a man over the murder of his ex-wife, Rabab Abu Siam, who was shot dead last week in the central Israeli city of Lod, even though he left the country a day before the shooting.

Even though he was abroad and was only arrested at Ben-Gurion International Airport upon his return, police expect murder charges to be filed against him for ordering and paying for Abu Siam's killing.

A mother of three, Abu Siam was shot on Tuesday last week in the backyard of her home. In the months before that, she complained about threats from her ex-husband.

Police said that they had no reason to act against Abu Siam's ex-husband, even though family members say he had been threatening her – but did invite the woman to the Lod precinct, where they told her that her life was in danger.

A court extended the ex-husband's detention on Thursday until next Wednesday, and most details of the investigation were put under a gag order.

The ex-husband's lawyer, Abed Alnablsi responded to the allegations, saying that "[My client] denies any connection to the incident. He had no intention of harming the mother of his children. We invite the police to bring forth any and all evidence if they suspect [that he committed a crime.]"

According to sources familiar with her case, Abu Siam had refused to go to a shelter for at-risk women in recent months despite pressure from welfare services. As a temporary solution, she moved to her relatives' house in southern Israel.

At one point, police even had Abu Siam sign a document in which she pledged not to return to Lod. However, she returned there shortly before the murder, to be with her daughters.

"She didn't want to go to the shelter because she wanted to stay with her daughters," her friend said. "This is the only thing she wanted in life – to live in peace, for her and her children."

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