(JNS.org) Palestinian man Muhammad Harouf, who confessed last week to slaying his pregnant Israeli girlfriend, 29-year-old Michal Halimi, was charged with murder Sunday in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court.
Halimi, a resident of the community of Adam in Judea and Samaria, was eight months pregnant at the time of the alleged murder.
Although Harouf initially cited a nationalistic motivation for killing Halimi, telling reporters that he “wanted to free [Palestinian security] prisoners,” prosecutors attributed the crime to a domestic dispute.
In addition to the murder charge, Harouf’s indictment includes charges of car theft, conspiracy to commit a crime, trading in a stolen vehicle, entering Israel without a permit and attempted credit card fraud.
After being detained by police in July, Harouf said he strangled his girlfriend and then hit her in the head with a rock before burying her body in the Sand Dunes Park in Holon.
Halimi was initially reported missing May 23 and her body was found July 24.
The couple had posted photos on social media indicating their intention to become engaged. Halimi was also reportedly married to an Israeli man at the time of her death.
Halimi’s mother, Gita Zilberman, called claims of a romantic relationship between her daughter and Harouf “lies and falsehood,” and maintained that Harouf had “nationalist reasons” for his actions, the Israeli news website Walla reported.
“The state doesn’t want Michal’s murderer to be recognized as a nationalist murder, and that his family will receive budgets and assistance from the Palestinian Authority (PA),” she said, referring to the PA’s policy of paying salaries to jailed Palestinian terrorists and their families.
Halimi’s husband also denied claims of a romantic relationship between his wife and Harouf.