New information has been released by the Shin Bet about the murder of IDF soldier Sgt. Ron Yitzhak Kokia in late November, specifically that the Bedouin citizen of Israel who admitted carrying out the terror attack had originally intended to kidnap him.
19 year-old Kokia, a sergeant in the IDF’s Nahal Brigade, was stabbed to death while he was waiting at a bus stop outside a shopping mall in the southern city of Arad on November 30 and his Tavor assault rifle taken by the attackers.
On December 22, 2017, the Shin Bet revealed that the two suspected attackers, Arab citizens of Israel, were arrested the day after the attack. The two men, Khaled and Zawin Abu Jouda, are residents of an unrecognized Beduin village in Negev and while they had no previous criminal record the investigation revealed that Khaled identified with various terror organizations and that he harbored extremist beliefs.
An indictment is expected to be served against the two men on Sunday.
According to the security service, Khaled admitted to carrying out the attack “out of a desire to do something on behalf of the Palestinians, and as revenge for IDF activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
Khaled told investigators during his interrogation that he had originally planned to kidnap a soldier using anesthetics that he was planning to steal from Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center where he worked in order to use him as a bargaining chip to secure the release of Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails.
He purchased a getaway car vehicle and began stashing money he intended to use while living on the run, the Shin Bet said.
According to the Shin Bet, Zawin Abu Jouda acted as Khaled’s confidant and assisted him after the attack.
Over the course of the months of October and November he and Zawin drove around Arad looking for a soldier who they could kidnap and kill and use his rifle in order to carry out more attacks.
They settled on Kokia and around 9.30pm medics received a call about a man who was severely wounded at a bus stop outside a mall with stab wounds on his upper body. According to MDA CPR efforts were unsuccessful in resuscitating Kokia who pronounced dead shortly after they arrived on the scene.
Kokia was laid to rest in Tel Aviv’s Kiryat Shaul military cemetery, with some 2,000 people in attendance.
Eulogizing his son Boaz Kokia said that “our Ron was brought up to love and respect people, both in our family and society at large, but he was also brought up to ‘Respect them and suspect them’, especially as it pertains to strangers. I think Ron may not have been suspicious enough Thursday night, when he was murdered by the lowest of the low: Israel’s enemies from within.”