Noa Eyal z"l
Noa Eyal z"l Courtesy of the family

The gag order on the arrest of a suspect in a 1998 Jerusalem rape and murder has been removed. The suspect in the rape and murder of Noa Eyal, 16 years ago, is a Jewish resident of Jerusalem.

He denies the suspicions against him.

The arrest was made possible with a special matching process of DNA in police possession. The breakthrough in the case reportedly came when police took a sample of DNA from the suspect after he spit on the sidewalk, following a pre-planned encounter with him.

In late February of 1998, Eyal left a movie theater in central Jerusalem and walked toward Davidka Square with her friend, Eldad Bribrum. She waited for a bus and parted ways with Bribrum, who went to another station to wait for the bus that would take him to his home in Ma'ale Adumim.

She never returned home, however. The next day, a search for her was launched and her body was found in the Ramot Forest in northern Jerusalem.

Investigators could find no clues to lead them to the murderer except for DNA that was found on the body.

Eyal's family said that the arrest is "an impressive achievement for the police... We are all flooded now with difficult memories from those days, about 17 years ago. A long period of an unsolved mystery. Today, evil incarnate suddenly has a face. This fact has shaken us and shocked us."

A local Jerusalem newspaper violated a gag order on the case soon after the murder and revealed that a taxi driver said that he saw Eyal get into a white Ford Escort car that had numerous stickers on its back window, including one for the Golani Brigade. A police investigator has blamed that publication for torpedoing the investigation.