Israeli murdered in Melbourne

January 17, 2019 by David Marlow
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An Israeli Arab student has been found murdered outside the Polaris shopping centre close to La Trobe University in Bundoora, Melbourne.

Victim Aya Masarwa on the left (from Facebook)

This victim has been identified as Aya Masarwa, aged 21, from Bakaal-Garbiyeh near Haifa in northern Israel.  Ms Masarwa was an overseas student, living in China with her sister where she was studying Chinese and English at Shanghai University, but was in Australia for a year studying at La Trobe University under a scholarship.  She had
been in Melbourne for about six months.

Her body was found at 7:00am on Wednesday morning near a tram stop. Detectives are investigating the circumstances of the attack and whether sexual assault was involved.

Reports suggest she had been speaking to her sister on Facetime when she was attacked.  Her mobile phone and other personal effects were found at the scene.

Her uncle, Rame Masarwe said her family were shocked by her murder, saying, “We can’t believe something like that can happen in Australia”.

Police are calling for anyone in the area who saw anything suspicious late on Tuesday night, to contact Victoria Police.

Police have released this CCTV image of the victim dressed on the day of the murder

Israeli Consular staff are assisting in the transfer of her body back to Israel for burial.  Her father is on his way to Melbourne.

It is believed that Ms Masarwe was making her way home from a comedy show at the Comics Lounge in North Melbourne when she was attacked.

Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said Ms Masarwe may have been followed as she took the 86 tram home at around 11:00pm on Tuesday night.

He said information from the public is likely to prove crucial in this investigation.

“There will be someone out there who has seen a person wearing this clothing, and we really need them to come forward and provide us with that information,” he said.

“If you have information about the identity of this person then I urge you to tell us.

“We have a grieving family who has had to fly halfway across the world under the most horrific circumstances and we want to be able to give them some answers.”

Claire Bowers, a La Trobe University spokesperson reminded students and staff, “There’s a whole range of support services including counselling available,” she said, and students could contact Uni-Safe Escort Services if they felt unsafe and wanted security to walk them to their car or public transport.

On Thursday morning, Bundoora locals were laying flowers at the scene of the attack.

Victoria Police are checking CCTV and any available dashcam footage as part of the investigation, and have already collected CCTV footage from the Comics Lounge.

The Israeli embassy in Canberra stated: “With deep sadness we confirm that the body of Aiia Maasarwe, an Israeli citizen, was found in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The Australian authorities are currently investigating the circumstances of her death. We have complete faith in the Victorian Police and have no doubt that they will leave no stone unturned in the search to bring the perpetrator to justice.

We express our heartfelt condolences to Aiia’s family and stand ready to support them during this time as our Consul works to return her body home to Israel for burial.”

Articles of clothing found at the crime scene. Any information should be directed to Crime Stoppers











Anyone who saw anything suspicious or who has relevant CCTV or dashcam footage is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


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