Exorcism gone wrong: Woman in Israel dies during ceremony

Two of the men arrested are said to be relatives of Ismail Haniyeh, a prominent leader in the Hamas terror group.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A 26-year-old woman from a Bedouin community in Israel’s south was left dead after an alleged exorcism went awry, with a local Sheikh, doctor, and the woman’s husband arrested in the aftermath of the incident.

According to Hebrew-language media, two of the men arrested are relatives of Ismail Haniyeh, a prominent Hamas leader based in Gaza who is currently the head of the terror group’s political bureau.

Three of Haniyeh’s sisters live in Bedouin communities in Israel’s south, although the details of the familial ties between the detainees and Haniyeh are unknown.

A source told Kan News that the woman appeared to suffer cardiac arrest during an exorcism led by the community’s Sheikh. The ritual involved the use of burning papers, spells and bats, and the woman was said to have suddenly collapsed during the ceremony.

A doctor was called to the scene, who then took her to a local health clinic where she was pronounced dead. Because there were no signs of external trauma to her body, it was assumed that she had a heart attack.

However, Israeli police dispute that version of events. In a statement, they said they have seen evidence to suggest that the woman’s death was caused by the actions of the Sheikh, although they did not elaborate as to what happened.

The woman’s husband, 25, the doctor, 32, and the Sheikh, 67, were taken into custody. Medical experts at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute are working to determine the exact cause of death.

Attorney Moti Yosef, who is representing the dead woman’s husband, said the arrest was wrongful. He added that his client is grieving and holds no responsibility for his wife’s untimely passing.

“This is a tragedy, the husband is heavily mourning his wife and is now forced to deal with unfounded suspicions,” Yosef told Channel 12 News.

“My client does not know what happened during the treatment other than the fact that he put her into treatment alive and unfortunately she came out dead. He has nothing to do with her death.”