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Israeli Exchange Student Murdered in Australia

Aiia Maasarwe was attacked while on the phone with her sister
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2019 6:32 PM CST
Police investigators work at the scene where the body of Israeli student student Aiia Maasarwe was found in Melbourne, Australia.   (Stefan Postles/AAP Image via AP)

(Newser) – Authorities in Melbourne, Australia, are searching for whoever attacked and killed a 21-year-old Israeli woman late Wednesday as she spoke on the phone with her sister, the BBC reports. "This was an absolutely horrendous, horrific attack that was committed against an innocent young woman," Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said during a Thursday press conference, per CNN. Aiia Maasarwe’s body was reportedly found partially clothed near La Trobe University, where Maasarwe, a student of Chinese and English at Shanghai University, was studying as part of an exchange program. She had been out at a comedy show, 9News reports, and was taking a tram as she spoke on the phone with her sister.

During the call, Maasarwe’s sister heard the phone fall to the ground, and then she heard some voices. The sister, worried, later called police in Australia, according to reports. Police say they found a baseball cap and a T-shirt near the crime scene. And Stamper said they are “key to solving this crime.” Authorities also are reviewing security footage from the tram on which Maasarwe was traveling, as well as footage from the comedy club she had been at, the Age reports. "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," Maasarwe’s uncle told Israeli media. (Read more Australia stories.)

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