Mellanöstern och Nordafrika Tidningen
Published On: Wed, Dec 30th, 2020

Serial Killers from the Middle East

Why are serial killers so fascinating? Part of the reason is their seemingly compulsive desire for violence, often coupled with a complete lack of clear motivation nor empathy. Notable serial killers make people ponder the nature of humanity and whether some people are simply born wicked. 

While they might not be as well known in this part of the world there are plenty of Middle Eastern serial killers that terrified countries like Iran, Iraq, Egypt, and Turkey over the years. They may feel unfamiliar to you, but it shows us, how evil is not bound to a specific place or region, and they come with some bone chilling tales. To learn more, browse this Middle Eastern serial killer list.

Zu Shenatir

Years Active: 5th century
Location: Himyarite Kingdom (modern Yemen)
Victims: 20+ victims
Method: Threw victims out a window

There are not a lot of details about the life of Zu Shenatir because he committed his murders during the 5th Century and a lot of information has been lost. He is considered one of the first serial killers in history. According to records, he would search for young boys in the streets. He would then lure the boys into his home, sexually assault them, and then kill them by throwing them out of a window. One of Shenatir’s would-be victims eventually stabbed and killed him. The number of murders he committed is unknown.

Ali Asghar Borujerdi

Ali Asghar Borujerdi, from Iran, decapitated his vicitims.

Years Active: 1908-1934
Location: Iran and Iraq
Victims: 33
Method: Decapitation

Iranian born Asghar Borujerdi committed a string of murders in Iran and Iraq, starting at the age of 14 shortly after moving to Iraq with his family. He killed 25 boys in Baghdad, but escaped to Tehran in Iran. While working as a vegetable seller, he killed even more boys, mostly homeless kids. He would knock the boys unconscious and then decapitate them afterwards.

Authorities eventually apprehended Borujerdi after discovering the bodies on New Year’s Eve in 1933. Borujerdi showed very little remorse during his trial, casually confessing and revealing his murder method. Borujerdi’s trial lasted only a day before he was convicted. He was hung in Tehran’s Sepah Sqaure in 1934.


Louay Omar Mohammed al-Taei

Louay Omar Mohammed al-Taei, the Iraqi physician who murdered his patients.

Years Active: 2005-2006
Kirkuk, Iraq
Drug injection

Louay Omar Mohammed al-Taei, was an Iraqi medical doctor who killed wounded soldiers and policemen while pretending to treat them during the Iraq War. He would inject these pro-coalition forces with a mixture of drugs that killed them within hours. He was captured after another member of his insurgent cell confessed to the crimes. He claimed his motivation was hatred for Americans and anger over how the United States invasion affected Iraq.

Yaxuz Yapicioglu

Yaxuz Yapicioglu, the Turkish Screwdriver Killer, killed between 18-40 people.

Years Active: 1994-2000
Location: Turkey
Victims: Between 18 and 40
Method: Stabbing

Nicknamed “The Screwdriver Killer,” Yavuk Yapıcıoğlu was a notorious Turkish serial killer known to murder people with seemingly no motivation. His murders started in 1994 when a group of three passed him on the street. When one member of the group wished Yapıcıoğlu a good morning, he stabbed all three to death before killing a nearby driver and stealing his car. During a stint at a psychiatric hospital, he attacked his roommates and nurses before setting the ward on fire. Yapıcıoğlu was in and out of prisons and hospitals throughout his killing sprees, which continued in a random pattern. At one point, he killed several people with a screwdriver, earning him his nickname. He also frequently burned down his victims’ homes. At his final trial, Yapıcıoğlu claimed he experienced dissociative states when he committed murders. While 18 murders are officially linked to him, Yapıcıoğlu’s brother stated he believes Yapıcıoğlu may have killed 40 people.

Ramadan Abdel Rehim Mansour

Ramadan Abdel Rehim Mansour tortored over 30 boys in Egypt.

Years Active: 2004-2006
Location: Egypt
Over 30

Ramadan Abdel Rehim Mansour was an Egyptian serial killer and street gang leader. Mansour joined a gang at a young age and began a reign of terror as he rose through the ranks. Mansour traveled throughout Egypt targeting boys between the ages of 10 and 14, usually picking up street children. Mansour and his gang would lure the boys onto the roofs of trains late at night. Mansour and other gang members would sexually assault the boys before torturing them and then throwing their bodies, dead or nearly dead, onto the sides of the tracks.

After two of his gang members were arrested, police apprehended Mansour as well. Mansour claimed during his confession he had been possessed during the times he committed the crimes. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to death. It is unclear how many boys he killed although the number is likely over 30.

Mohammed Bijeh

Mohammed Bijeh was a serial killer and rapist; he was sentenced to 100 lashes followed by execution.










Year Active: 20032004
Location: Tehran, Iran 
Method: Blunt force trauma

Mohammed Bijeh was a serial killer and rapist who murdered 17 boys and three adults in Iran in 2004. He typically murdered his victims by striking them with a stone.

In 2005, he was publicly executed in front of a large crowd. He received a public lashing first, during which he was stabbed by the brother of one of his victims. Another victim’s mother put the noose around his neck before he was hung from a crane until he died. According to reports, Bijeh remained mostly silent during his execution.

Saeed Hanaei

Saeed Hanaei from Iran strangled 16 women while his wife and kids were away.

Years Active: 2000-2001
Location: Mashad, Iran
Victims: 16
Method: Strangulation

Saeed Hanaei was a serial killer who targeted sex workers in Iran from 2000 to 2001. He killed 16 women by luring them home while his wife and kids were away and strangling them. He claimed he was attempting to cleanse sin from the city. When the murders first began occurring, residents feared extremist religious groups were behind the actions. Eventually, however, one of Hanaei’s would-be victims escaped after punching him in the stomach and fleeing. This led police to Hanaei, who confessed.

In 2002, he was executed by hanging in Mashhad Prison. He expressed no remorse the day before his execution, saying his victims were worth no more than cockroaches to him.


Adnan Çolak 

Adnan Çolak, shot and killed 11 elderly women in Turkey.

Years Active: 1992-1995
Location: District of Artvin, Turkey
Victims: 11
Method: Shooting

Adnan Çolak was a Turkish serial killer who shot and killed 11 elderly women in Artvin, Turkey during the ’90s. The women were between the ages of 68 and 95. He was given six death sentences plus 40 years in prison for his crimes, but his sentence was changed to life in prison in 2004 when Turkey eliminated the death penalty.

Ali Kaya

Ali Kaya, nicknamed “the baby face killer.”

Years Active: 1997-2002
Location: Turkey
Victims: 10
Method: Stabbing

Ali Kaya was in the system since 17, when he was incarcerated for a string of crimes such as theft and assault. After being released at 19, he committed his first murder when he stabbed his uncle to death. He was arrested and imprisoned for the crime, but released on parole after two years. This became a recurring pattern, with Kaya being in and out of prisons and mental health hospitals. He committed murders outside of these facilities and also inside, stabbing other inmates. Eventually, he killed 10 victims.

In 2014, Kaya escaped from prison again. Police located him after an extensive hunt and found him equipped with a gun and hit list. He was quickly brought back to prison.

Nicolai Bonner 

Nicolai Bonner from Israel, killed 4 immigrants.

Year Active: 2005
Location: Israel
Victims: 4
Method: Beating

Nicolai Bonner murdered four immigrants in Haifa, Israel throughout May 2005 while heavily intoxicated. The victims were originally from the Soviet Union and Bonner beat them to death before setting their bodies on fire. His motivation remains unclear, but he claimed he was acting impulsively due to grief over his wife’s death.

He was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences for the murders and awarded additional time in prison for crimes related to the murders such as assault.

Özgür Dengiz

Özgür Dengiz

Years Active: 1997-2007
Location: Turkey
Victims: 3
Method: Shooting

Özgür Dengiz was a serial killer and cannibal whose crimes began at 17. He murdered a friend during an argument, resulting in a 10 year prison sentence. He only served three years before he was released on parole, after which he joined the army. His military years were turbulent and he was once hospitalized for psychiatric reasons.

Upon returning home, he killed two more victims in Ankara, Turkey. He ate the flesh of one of his victims and also fed some of the victim’s flesh to stray dogs.

Police captured Dengiz after discovering the body of one of his victims. Denzig never expressed remorse for his crimes after confessing in custody.


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