The Palestinian man who attacked an 84-year-old woman in a central Israeli city was found hanged in central Tel Aviv Wednesday morning, police reported.
A few days earlier, the man had been investigated twice by the police in the prior two weeks after he raised their suspicions, and he was released shortly after they verified his work permit.
The elderly Israeli victim, Shlomit Ovadia, was beaten to death Tuesday on the street in Holon, in what police now believe was a terror attack. Visiting the scene, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai described the incident as "a very serious terror attack."
Police sources told Haaretz that the suspect is a Palestinian resident of the West Bank city of Qalqilya, identified as Moussa Sarsour, who worked at a nearby construction site and had a permit to work in Israel.
Police are still investigating how Sarsour, whose body was found between an abandoned building and an inhabited one on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv, managed to travel there from Holon.
The police say hundreds of soldiers were deployed in Holon and Tel Aviv during the manhunt, and that dozens of reports matching the description of the terrorist were received. Around 7 a.m. Wednesday a man called police with a report of a hanged man on Dizengoff Street, and police later confirmed he was the suspect.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, was updated about the incident.
“Terror is an incarnation of pure evil,” he said in a statement. “This is a shocking attack by a despicable and cowardly terrorist, who murdered an elderly woman who was unable to fight him off."
"I send my deepest condolences to the family of the murdered woman, and I am with them in their darkest hour," he added.
Police say that footage recovered from a nearby security camera shows a man hitting the woman in the face with an unidentified object. The Shin Bet is also involved in the investigation.
Police initially received a report around 4:30 P.M. about an attack on an elderly woman on Ha'Hashmonaim Street in the city, and medical personnel who arrived at the scene pronounced her dead. There were signs of violence on her face, and next to her was her bag. The police previously stated that they were investigating the incident as a suspected murder but have not ruled out other possibilities.
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The woman lived near the scene of the attack and police say that they have no previous encounters with her family. Karin, a neighbor who found the body and called the police said, "When I saw her, she was already lifeless, so I'm not sure how long it had been since she was hit. We thought she tripped and fell on the floor, but now I understand that it was an assault."
Palestinians who work in the area and were near the scene told Haaretz that they were asked by police for identification. "I came to see the progress of work here and there and then I saw it. Very sad," said one.