The Internet lure – the murder of Ofir Rahum, Jan. 17, 2001

On January 17, 2001 Ofir Rahum, aged 16.5, left his house, presumably to go to the high school in Ashqelon where he studied. When he failed to return on time, his parents began looking for him and found out that he never came to school that day. On the next day, January 18, the Palestinian security apparatuses reported that the body of an Israeli teenager was found in Ramallah. The body was transferred to Israel, and the murdered teenager was identified as Ofir Rahum.


The police investigation and the examination of Ofir's computer indicated that he had been involved for some time in Internet relations with a woman who called herself Sally. Sally, who claimed she was a journalist, said she was an adult 23- or 24-year-old woman and made clear attempts to draw Ofir out to a meeting with her, among other things, promising to have intimate relations with him. Sally mentioned that she was a new immigrant from Morocco, and therefore could not speak fluent Hebrew. Thus she explained her accent and the difficulty in expressing herself.



From Jerusalem to Ramallah
On January 17, 2001 Ofir arrived at the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem for the meeting he had arranged with Sally. She arrived to the station in a taxi, collected Ofir and took him to Elram Junction. They got out of the taxi, switched to a car left by Sally in the area, and drove to the entry to Ramallah. When Ofir asked why they were driving through Arab territory, Sally replied, "That's how it is in Jerusalem, since the city has both Jewish and Arab neighborhoods".


Sally stopped the car on the outskirts of Ramallah, on the border between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, next to a Palestinian vehicle with a red PA license plate. Two armed men with Kalashnikov rifles were sitting in the vehicle. They ordered Ofir to exit the car, and after he refused and resisted, one of the men shot him dead from close range.

Sally and the two men dragged the teenager's body into the trunk of the Palestinian vehicle and left the scene, with Sally driving the car in which she arrived with Ofir. A puddle of blood and bloodstained drag marks were left on the ground.


On the next day the teenager's body was found buried in the al-Tirah neighborhood of Ramallah (near Route 443), probably after being spotted by a local who witnessed its burying and reported this to the Palestinian security forces. The body was taken to the Ramallah hospital and identified as the missing Israeli teenager from Ashqelon whose photographs were passed to the Palestinian security apparatuses. Afterwards, the body was transferred to Israel.



Arrest and trial
On the night of January 19-20, 2001 Sally was arrested. She was identified as Amna Muna, born in 1976, resident of Bir Nabala (north of Jerusalem), a Fatah activist who worked as a journalist and photographer in Ramallah.


Amna Muna did not immediately confess. It took four weeks of interrogations for her to give a full confession regarding the terrorist attack, including the names of her two accomplices: Hassan Qadi and Abd al-Fatah Dola. It should be noted that the original plan was to kidnap the teenager and negotiate his release in return for Palestinian prisoners.


Amna Muna was brought to trial and received a life sentence for the premeditated murder of Ofir Rahum. The judges stated in their verdict that even though Amna Muna was not the one who pulled the trigger, she was still considered the main perpetrator, since she developed and orchestrated the kidnapping plan. The judges said that she meticulously planned her crime and executed it with intent.


During her incarceration, Amna Muna was considered the leader of the female prisoners. The Palestinians demanded her release in any potential prisoner swap. She was released and expelled abroad on Oct. 18, 2011, as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap.


After Amna Muna's arrest and confession, her two accomplices became fugitives. Hassan Qadi died several months after the terrorist attack, on April 30, 2001. He was killed in an explosion in a residential building in Ramallah while preparing an explosive charge, in what may be termed a "work accident".


The other accomplice, Abd al-Fatah Dola, was arrested in July 2004 during an arrest operation in Jericho. He was brought to trial and sentenced to seven years in prison for abduction and participation in premeditated murder after the fact. The persecution's appeal against his acquittal of premeditated murder was recently granted. The appellate court convicted Abd al-Fatah Dola as being responsible for the premeditated murder of Ofir Rahum. The new verdict is pending.

Ofir Rahum, born in 1984, a high school student and resident of Ashqelon, developed a virtual romantic relationship over ICQ with a woman who went by the name of Sally. Ofir was lured by Sally to travel to Jerusalem, from where he was driven to Ramallah and murdered on January 17, 2001. His body was found on the next day and subsequently returned to Israel by the Palestinian security apparatuses.
a Fatah activist who worked as a journalist and photographer in Ramallah