Police suspect that Yaakov (Jack) Teitel, who has confessed to murdering two Palestinians and carrying out a long list of other, less deadly, terror attacks, also murdered two traffic policemen in the Jordan Valley eight months ago - a crime originally attributed to Palestinian terrorists.
Haaretz reported on Tuesday that police suspected Teitel of other murders in addition to those of the two Palestinians, but at the time, a gag order was still in place that prevented specifying which murders.
The policemen, Warrant Officer David Rabinowitz and Senior Warrant Officer Yehezkel Ramzarkar, were shot while sitting in their patrol vehicle near Moshav Massua. The subsequent investigation indicated that the assailant had lain in wait at the turn-off from the main road to Massua and did something to make them stop and roll down their window. He then shot them from point-blank range. No damage was done to the vehicle, and nothing was taken from it.
Teitel denied responsibility for these murders, and it not clear what evidence the police have against him. But a police source said yesterday that Teitel's modus operandi in the crimes he has admitted to "precisely matches" that of the policemen's murder.
The police and the Shin Bet security service have long assumed that the policemen's killer acted alone, and not as part of an organization, making it difficult to get information about the crime. And while the police considered the possibility that the murder was criminal rather than the work of terrorists, three different lines of inquiry had drawn blanks, leaving investigators utterly in the dark.
Teitel has confessed to carrying out other attacks on policemen in retaliation for the police protection granted the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem in 2006: He planted an improvised explosive device in a police station in the settlement of Eli and also blew up bombs near two police patrol cars in Jerusalem.
A psychiatrist examined Teitel on Tuesday and pronounced him sane. However, the evaluation found that he did have schizoid traits - extreme disinterest in social ties, coldness and solitariness. He will be examined by another psychiatrist tomorrow, this time one hired by the defense rather than the state.
Also Tuesday, the Shin Bet detained Yosef Espinoza, 51, on suspicion of involvement in Teitel's crimes. Espinoza, like Teitel, is an American immigrant who lives in the settlement of Shvut Rachel, and he is known as Teitel's best friend.
However, it is not yet clear what exactly Espinoza is suspected of: He has already been arrested once, 10 days ago, and then released.
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