Ali Amtirat, 40, suspected of murdering his daughters, 4-year-old Asinad and 2-year-old Rimas, was arrested last week, more than a month after the murders, it was cleared for publication Sunday.
Following the murder, which took place in May, an officer and the commander of the Arad police were dismissed, after police neglected to look into a complaint filed by the girls' mother a day before the murders.
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The father was found in the Dead Sea area, on the roof of an old structure, underfed and wearing the same clothes he had on the day of the murder. Last week, the Beersheba Magistrates Court remanded the father by an additional 10 days.
Amtirat with Rimas
Ever since the girls' bodies were found in late May at the Bedouin village of Al Furah, near the southern city of Arad, Negev police have tried to trace the father.
Police were concerned that the suspect would flee the country, as he has family in Saudi Arabia, or try to hurt the mother of his daughters, promting them to take her to a safe house shelter.
Amtirat under arrest (Photo: Herzel Yosef)
According to South District Police Chief, Major General Yoram Halevy, before he was caught, the father had been hiding in creeks, tunnels and various hideouts across the Negev. Before managing to detain him, police had apparently closed in on his whereabouts twice, but failed to nab him before he fled.
Halevy said that Amtirat's arrest had ended "a nerve wracking and complex hunt." He described the suspect as "extremely dangerous, taking all precaution and hiding in open areas, caves and creeks."
District Police Chief Yoram Halevy (Photo: Yaron Brenner)
"The suspect's arrest is not the end of the story," Halevy added, saying that only when the father confesses to the crime will the police chief be able "to look the girls' mother in the eye and tell her we did everything we could so that the monster who executed this horrendous murder goes behind bars for a very long time."
Police also arrested the suspect's brothers, two of whom were indicted for kidnapping the victims. Nonetheless police added they have yet to find all those suspected of assisting the suspect.
According to preliminary investigation, the girls were murdered as a result of a strenuous custody battle.
After the father was arrested, the mother, Abir Dandis, told Ynet: "I just happened to call the police that day and ask about him. I was very to surprised to hear he was arrested."
Dandis with Rimas
Despite the negligence with which the mother's complaints were handled by police, she expressed her gratitude to the police "for a job well done in getting him arrested."
She nonetheless added that she was afraid that his family members might still try to harm her. "I'm sure they're not happy to see him arrested," she said. "I don’t know how long I will live in fear.
"I would like very much to see the killer and ask him why he murdered his girls and how he could have done such a thing. I'm sure he would be dismissive, as if he had done nothing, but hopefully he will regret what he he's done," Dandis noted.
Tried to complain. Dandis (Photo: Herzel Yosef)
"Such a criminal should be jailed for life," she said, rhetorically wondering: "Isn’t he ashamed of himself? He doesn’t deserve to be a father. I'll remain grief-stricken for the rest of my life after losing my two girls."
Defense attorney Tomer Orinov said: "My client denies the allegations. He insists that people who have clashed with his wife in the past are behind the murders. She had been incarcerated in the Palestinian Authority in the past and those who put her in jail are the ones behind his daughters' murders."
When asked why the father had fled if he were innocent, the attorney said the suspect was grieving: "They have a 40 day mourning period; he secluded himself from society."
Hassan Shaalan contributed to this report
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