Police have arrested an Eritrean national on suspicion of brutally raping an 83-year-old woman near the old central bus station in southern Tel Aviv, it was cleared for publication Monday.
According to the suspicions, the man raped the elderly woman for hours in the backyard of her building.
The brutal rape was stopped only after the suspect spotted the woman's relatives arriving to visit her and escaped. Since then, for 10 days, the police have been concealing the incident
from the public.
The gag order over the investigation was removed on Monday morning, and the suspect is expected to be indicted later this week.
Court extends suspect's remand (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
The incident took place on a Friday about 10 days ago. According to the investigation, the woman, who lives on her own, left her house at around 10 am. The suspect, who was lurking across the street, dragged her to the building's yard and raped her for hours – while beating and threatening her.
The suspect, in his 20s, had no trouble gaining control of the weak old woman. Unfortunately, her cries for help were not heard by anyone, allowing the rapist to carry on for hours.
When the woman's relatives arrived for a visit, they found her on the building's ground floor after being brutally raped. The suspect managed to escape without being caught.
Police forces dispatched to the scene of the crime launched an investigation into the gruesome incident.
Police investigators managed to collect a DNA sample from the crime scene and operated intelligence sources to locate the suspect. The man's identity was unknown at the time, but the investigators were certain that he was a foreign resident.
The police usually release a statement to the press in such incidents, but in this case they decided to conceal the rape from the public completely.
"They didn't want the story to ignite riots and decided to investigate the incident quietly," a Tel Aviv District police officer said.
Three days after the incident, the police managed to locate the suspect, who refused to cooperate in his interrogation. According to the police, the DNA tests prove beyond all reasonable doubt that he is the one who carried out the horrific attack.
The suspect lives near the old Tel Aviv central bus station. Throughout his time in Israel a number of criminal cases have been opened against him for property offenses. His remand was extended last week.
Southern Tel Aviv residents have held angry protests in the past following violent crimes involving foreigners, and police forces have been ordered to raise their alert level in the area for fear of a spontaneous reaction to the recent rape.
The elderly woman's rape reminded the residents of southern Tel Aviv that the violence in the area involving foreign nationals had yet to be solved.
"There is a huge mess here," said Netanel, 20, who owns a store in the central bus station. "When I used to work at the old bus station, an ambulance would arrive on a daily basis. Today it comes once a week, but there are still cases of theft by foreign workers or drunks."
Another store owner added: "There is a lot of crime here, and it gets scary at night. There is a lot of violence between Eritreans. The police conduct many patrols here, but more are needed."
Foreigners near central bus station (Photo: Gilad Morag)
Activists of the right-wing Otzma Leisrael party and residents of southern Tel Aviv said they would hold a protest march in the area on Monday evening. "Neighborhoods are being conquered by infiltrators, life has become a living hell, and the State of Israel remains silent," MK Michael Ben-Ari wrote on his Facebook page.
Local residents agree. "This is just one of many acts of violence," said City Council Member Shmolo Maslawi. "The elections are almost over, but there are tens of thousands of foreigners in southern Tel Aviv who are not going anywhere. We have become asylum seekers and refugees in our own neighborhoods."
Gilad Morag, Omri Efraim and Akiva Novick contributed to this report