The Shin Bet security service said Monday the Palestinian arrested for the murder of Esther Horgan did so out of revenge for the death of a former fellow inmate who died of illness in an Israeli jail.
The agency also named the suspect for the first time, identifying him as 40-year-old Mohammed Kabha from a village near Jenin in the West Bank, who previously served several terms in Israeli jail for terror offences.
Horgan, 52, left her home in the northern West Bank settlement of Tal Menashe three weeks ago for a jog in the nearby Reihan Forest. Her body was found hours later with clear signs of a violent attack which police and the Shin Bet said was an act of terror.
The suspect in the attack was arrested four days after the incident, while last Monday Israel's National Counter Terrorism Unit released the footage from the arrest raid, recorded by a camera placed on of helm of one of the soldiers.
The security agency said four other suspects were arrested for assisting the suspect in carrying out the attack and trying to evade justice.
During the interrogation, Kabha revealed he was motivated to carry out the killing by the death of Kamal Abu Waer, the first Palestinian security prisoner in Israel with a confirmed case of COVID-19, who later died from suspected complications that resulted from the disease.
The suspect told the investigators that on the afternoon of December 20, he noticed a Jewish woman, who turned out to be Esther Horgan, walking alone in the forest where he was smuggling cigarettes through the nearby security fence. He approached Horgan and smashed her head with a rock, killing her.
Kabha fled the scene and for the next four days hid from the security services with the help from his relatives and acquaintances in the village of Deir al-Rosson, where he was eventually caught.
The investigation into the murder continues and Kabha is expected to stand trial at the Samaria Military Court once the probe is completed. "The security forces will continue to act resolutely to thwart terror activity and enforce justice on all those involved," the Shin Bet said in a statement.