The bodies of two girls, aged two and four, were found in a house in the Bedouin village of Al Furah near the southern city of Arad on Tuesday. The bodies of both girls bore signs of strangulation, apparently with the use of a cord. The girls were in the custody of their father, who lived in Al Furah with his second wife, while the girls' biological mother was living in East Jerusalem.
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Police are searching for the father, who has been missing since the bodies were found.
The girls' mother, Abir Dandis, said she received a phone call telling her that her elder daughter was killed by her father, who was enraged by his ex-wife's rendezvous with their daughters earlier in the week, apparently against his will. She turned to the Ma'ale Adumim police branch, where she said her desperate requests that they look into her daughters' safety were ignored by the officers, who told her they didn't deal with residents of the territories.
The officers directed her to the Arad police station, where she said the officers failed to take her seriously and her appeal was dismissed – again, because she was a resident of the Palestinian territories and a Bedouin. Dandis's lawyers said officers at the Arad station showed blatant contempt and told her to go home.
Dandis at the Arad police station (Photo: Photo: Herzl Yoseph)
An internal probe found those who handled the complaint filed by the girls' mother to be lacking in reporting, command and professionalism – "a failure that goes across police ranks all the way up to the station commander," wrote Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino in a statement.
Chief Superintendent Yoni Zeitek and two of his subordinates were discharged from their posts following the oversights.
"At least I did what I had to do," said the mother. "I was concerned for my daughters, and he took them from me. Now at least they will be buried close to me. He prevented me from seeing them. Now I can visit the grave, which is what comforts me."
Dandis's late daughters, aged 2 and 4 (Photo courtesy of Panet)
Dandis decided to donate her daughters' organs. Her lawyer filed an application on her behalf to bury the girls in east Jerusalem, rather than in the Negev.
Regarding the murder investigation, much still remains unclear. The girls' stepmother, suspected of obstruction of justice, to be brought for remand at the Beersheba Magistrate's Court. Police suspect she may have helped the father flee. Defense counsel, attorney Uri Fishermen, said "The case is shrouded in mystery." The stepmothers' two minor sons were detained as well. One of them has since been released and the other, 17, was remanded until Sunday.
An MDA source commented on the kilings, "It was a horrifying sight, especially because the girls were so young. Just finding their bodies and declaring them dead was a traumatic experience for the entire MDA crew."
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