A Palestinian in Israel illegally has been charged with murdering a 17-year-old from the Arab city of Shefar'am in northern Israel last December, according to details released Monday.
Gaza resident Wisam al-Hasana, 44, was charged in Haifa District Court with killing Adel Khatib and planning to extort money from his family in order to locate his body. His remand was also extended.
The victim's family hurled abuse at the accused in court and even tried to attack his attorney.
After the teen's family notified police of his absence on December 4, large numbers of police, including a canine unit, and volunteers set out to locate him.
On the following day, Adel's body was discovered buried in the ground near an elementary school in Shefar'am. His body showed signs of severe violence.
The police investigating the murder began questioning potential witnesses and gathering security camera footage.
On the evening of his son's body was discovered, Ashraf Khatib said he had identified on security camera footage a Shefar'am resident who led his son to the scene of his murder.
As a result, four youths who had been in arguments with the victim were arrested. They were only released after a month once it became clear that they had nothing to do with the murder.
Further avenues of investigation were followed, but police on Monday sought to make clear that these leads were based on "malicious rumor… were investigated and found to be false."
The investigators soon realized that the defendant, who was staying in Shefar'am during his time in Israel, worked with the victim at the home of Khatib's uncle in the city.
A week before the murder, the Palestinian allegedly contacted the boy, told him that he had found an item that he wished to hand over to him.
On December 3, the defendant is believed to have hidden a hoe at the site where he allegedly planned to murder Khatib. He allegedly contacted the boy again the following day and the two arranged to meet in the Ein Afia neighborhood of Shefar'am .
On December 5, the accused allegedly led the deceased to the area in which he had hidden the hoe the day before, pulled out a knife, stabbed the boy to death - and buried him using the hoe.
Al-Hasana is accused of leaving the scene of the murder and heading to his victim's home, and allegedly placing a message in Arabic on windshield of a car parked outside.
The message read: "Adel is in a safe place, I demand NIS 400,000 for him within five days. After I receive the money, Adel will be returned to his father."
The message also warned that if the family contacted the police, the youth would be "sliced."
The following day, the defendant left Shefar'am and was tracked down on January 5 hiding in a construction site in the nearby city of Tamra.
The defendant initially denied any connection to the murder, but later confessed to stabbing Khatib and even reenacted the murder. Residents of Shefar'am who witnessed the reenactment threw stones at the defendant and tried to harm him.
The indictment against Al-Hasana accuses him of aggravated murder, kidnap for the purposes of murder, and extortion.
Prosecutor also requested that he be remanded in custody until the end of legal proceedings against him.
Police said: "The boy's death was resolved in a short period of time thanks to determined and professional actions of Israel Police investigators, during the integration of forces from the various units, using special measures and the forensics. Investigators have also dealt with a wave of malicious rumors that have been thoroughly investigated and ruled out."
Fatma, the boy's mother, said her son had done nothing wrong but had fallen foul of the very thing he had worked to prevent.
"He was my only son among four sisters. I loved him very much but unfortunately the killers took the life of my beloved and didn't let me live life with my son.
"I didn't feel he was in danger. In the end, we received the bad news of his death. My son was murdered in a very shocking way. It's hard for me to talk about such a painful event," she said.
"My son did nothing. He was active against violence and murders and in they end they murdered him. "
Adel's father, Ashraf, added: "A murderer should be given a death sentence. This is a law that needs to be enacted urgently otherwise the murders will continue."