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ARREST MADE OVER THE KILLING OF AN ISRAELI STUDENT IN MELBOURNE

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A man has been arrested over the killing of a 21-year-old Israeli student in Melbourne, Australian police say.

The body of Aiia Maasarwe, 21, was found near La Trobe University in the city’s north. She had taken a tram home late on Tuesday after a comedy show.

She was attacked while speaking on the phone to her sister, authorities said.

A 20-year-old man was arrested in a nearby suburb on Friday.

Victoria Police did not immediately provide further details but thanked the public for their help.

Earlier, detectives said they were not ruling out the possibility that Ms Maasarwe had been sexually assaulted before her killing.

“Our presumption at this stage is that this was a random attack and opportunistic,” Inspector Andrew Stamper told reporters on Thursday.

The killing has caused widespread outrage in Australia, sparking renewed anger and debate about violence against women.

Ms Maasarwe’s sister, worried about Aiia, is reported to have called Australian police around the same time the body was found on Wednesday morning outside a shopping centre.

In their previous call, she had “heard the sound of the phone falling to the ground and heard some voices”, Insp Stamper said.

Ms Maasarwe was a student of Chinese and English at a university in Shanghai, her uncle, Abed Katane, told Israeli media. She was on an exchange programme at La Trobe, he said.

“She was an excellent student, full of life. She wasn’t in a very dangerous country at all, and yet we are still receiving such a painful message,” Mr Katane told the Haaretz newspaper.

 

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