Published: Sat, January 19, 2019
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Man charged with murder of Israeli exchange student in Melbourne

Man charged with murder of Israeli exchange student in Melbourne

Her uncle, Abed Kittani, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp that Maasarve was speaking by phone to a younger sister when she was attacked.

Police have arrested a 20-year-old man in relation to Aiia Masaarwe's murder. "A student on her way home after a comedy show with friends", Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews tweeted before the vigil.

Police appealed to the public for help tracking down the killer of 21-year-old Aiia Maasarwe, whose body was found early Wednesday near the campus of the Melbourne university where she was studying.

"Our presumption is that this was a random attack and opportunistic", he said.

Ms Maasarwe's bag was split open and some of its contents were removed, Mr Stamper said.

"All I will say is, this was a horrific attack".

Police believe the 21-year-old, who was studying at La Trobe University, was attacked soon after she stepped off the tram about 12.10am.

Her father had left Israel for Melbourne in a bid to co-ordinate her body's return home, Mr Katane told the newspaper.

"Police would like to thank the community and the media for the assistance that they have provided during this investigation".

"She was an excellent student, full of life".

He also said the family was shocked by the news, and had believed Australia to be safe.

It's understood that Aia had been at a club in North Melbourne on Tuesday night before catching the 86 tram to Bundoora from a stop in Bourke Street.

Aiia was facetiming with her sister as she got off the tram, during which her sister heard the beginning of the brutal assault that has horrified the local population and led to increased calls for government action to protect women.

It's understood the man was identified as a key suspect after forensic tests were conducted on a black cap and a grey t-shirt found dumped near where Ms Massarwe's body was found.

"Later today I will meet with her father".

Israeli exchange student Aiia Maasarwe was found dead near a university campus in Australia on January 16, 2019.

Stamper said the report from her sister came in at about the same time.

"Every woman in Australia, every person in Australia, should be able to travel home in safety", he told reporters.

Last June the killing of 22-year-old comedian Eurydice Dixon sparked fresh anger and debate about violence against women in Australia.

"Instead of coming home with a diploma, she is coming back in a coffin", Kittani said.

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