Mohammed Sarsur was taken in for questioning and is due to appear in the Ramle Magistrate's Court on Monday for a remand hearing.
Police say that the father's answers to questions were not in line with other testimonies and that is why he was arrested. One of the details that raised the police's suspicion was the short time between Annas' leaving home and the phone call to the police, as reported by the father.
Mohammed Sarsur during son's funeral (Photo: Hassan Shaalan)
Sarsur's body was discovered early Friday morning. The body bore signs of severe violence and was taken to the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine for an autopsy. Police also suspect that he was sexually assaulted. However, the boy's family claims he was run over by a street sweeper.
A few hours after her son's body was found, Sarsur's mother said "My husband called me the evening before and said that Annas had come back from a birthday party at a friend's house and gone to his cousin's. At 10 pm he called me and said that Annas hadn't come back. I had a bad feeling."
The body of Annas Sarsur, 10, was found in an olive grove (Photo: Ido Erez)
"I went back home. My husband took the car and said he was going to look for Annas. The neighbors helped him. At around 1, they found the body," his mother continued.
"We can't take in this horrible event… this is a disaster for all of us that we'll never forget," said Ali Amar, principal of Sarsur's school. "Annas was an excellent pupil and very smart – we all loved him," Amar added.
One of the suspect's relatives said that the family is shocked by his arrest. "The day Annas went missing, the father turned to us and asked us to help with the search. He told me 'My son never came home. I'm afraid something bad happened to him.'"
The relative said that after the body was found the father cried and said, "My son is gone, who could have murdered him? The criminal must be punished."
The school declared a day of mourning and plans to erect a memorial to commemorate Sarsur, as well as name a classroom after him. Social workers and psychologists were on the scene to help other students.
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