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Sunday, 25 February, 2001, 23:11 GMT
Woman 'confesses to internet murder'
The mother of murdered Ofir Rahum at his funeral
Ofir Rahum's murder stunned Israel
A Palestinian woman has confessed to luring an Israeli teenager to his death by exchanging messages with him in an internet chatroom, according to the Israeli authorities.

Amana Jawad Mona, 25, was arrested last month by elite Israeli soldiers posing as Arabs following the killing of 16-year-old Ofir Rahum.

She initially denied any connection with the murder.

Amana Jawad Mona
Amana Jawad Mona: Deprived of sleep during interrogation
But after more than a month of interrogation by Shin Beth security service agents, a statement issued by the Israeli prime minister's office said she had admitted that she managed to persuade the youth to meet her at a Jerusalem bus station.

Ofir, who lived in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, took a bus to Jerusalem, where he was picked up in a car and driven to the West Bank.

There he was murdered by two senior members of the Tanzim militia, which is allied to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, the statement said.

The two men ordered Ofir to get out of the car and when he resisted one of them shot him to death, the statement said.

They took him to the West Bank city of Ramallah and buried him, but he was found by local residents and handed over to Israeli authorities by the Palestinian police.

Scene of ambush
Rahum is said to have been shot dead when he refused to get out of the car
Ms Mona is said to have told her interrogators her intention was that Ofir would not be killed, only kidnapped, as a protest against the killing of teenage Palestinian activists by Israeli soldiers.

Her lawyer, Jawad Boulos, said: "What happened, happened out of her control without her knowledge and certainly without her consent."

He added that he did not think her confession was extracted by force.

But he told Israeli television that she underwent an interrogation in which other pressures, such as sleep deprivation, were used.

The Israeli authorities are still hunting for the men involved in Ofir's killing.

More than 400 people, most of them Palestinians, have been killed in a wave of violence across Israel, the West Bank and Gaza since the Palestinian uprising began last year.

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21 Jan 01 | Middle East
Woman denies internet murder
20 Jan 01 | Middle East
Internet murder suspect arrested
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