Man Allegedly Murders Pregnant Wife After Release From Psychiatric Hospital

A man from the western Galilee allegedly murdered his pregnant wife on Sunday morning. He had been released from a psychiatric hospital despite posing a danger, his family said.

Hala Asala, 29, had four children and was six months pregnant. She lived in Arabe with her husband Fahim, 35, who is the main suspect in her murder.

Hala Asala

Fahim's brother Saud Asala called police around 5 A.M. Sunday, after he heard screaming from the couple's apartment and saw through the window that his brother was holding a knife and appearing deranged.

When police came to the house, they found Hala lying on the floor, covered in blood and suffering from multiple stab wounds. Emergency medical services pronounced her dead.

Police found Fahim several hours later and arrested him.

Saud Asala said the couple's children ran out of the house to his home, which is in the same complex.

One of the daughters said she saw her mother on the floor, not moving.

"I realized a disaster had taken place and I called the police and the emergency services immediately," Saud said.

The family cannot comprehend the tragedy, Saud said. Family members were critical of Mirza Hospital in Acre, where Fahim had been receiving treatment, for releasing him even though he posed a danger, he said. Fahim's condition had deteriorated over the past few months, family members said.

Naser Bakriya, Hala's father, said that his daughter had had a relatively good relationship with her husband, and that he did not know of any problems that could explain the murder.

Police said that they had not received any previous reports of domestic violence concerning the couple, and that the husband does not have a criminal record.

Fahim Asala will be remanded into custody on Monday at the Acre Magistrate's Court, and is likely to be sent for psychiatric evaluation.

The Health Ministry said that it does not plan to issue a response over the incident since the matter currently is being handled by police.