Israeli Soldier Found Dead in Apparent Attack in West Bank

12:00 Aug 9 2019 Efrat

Israeli Soldier Found Dead in Apparent Attack in West Bank
Scene. Published by IMEMC News and Haaretz

by IMEMC News
August 8, 2019 10:55 AM

Israeli authorities announced Thursday morning that they had found the body of a 19-year old Israeli soldier on the side of a road in the south-central part of the West Bank, and believe he was the victim of an attack.

The perpetrators of the attack remain unknown, although Israeli authorities say they assume the attackers were Palestinian.

The nearest Palestinian village to the location where the body was found is Beit Fajjar, south of Bethlehem. Israeli forces stormed the village and put a complete closure on the area.

The victim was identified as Dvir Sorek, who was a settler living illegally on stolen Palestinian land in the settlement of Ofra. He was a corporal in the Israeli army.

He was a student of the Jewish religion at a yeshiva (religious Jewish college) in the settlement where he lived. He was also an active duty Israeli soldier.

According to Israeli sources, Sorek had gone to Jerusalem to shop, but did not return home last night. His family reported him missing Wednesday night, and police began a search, finding his body about 2:30 am Tuesday morning.

The Israeli military say their theory is that Sorek was pulled into a vehicle and killed, then dumped on the side of the road, and they presume that this was done by Palestinians.

An Israeli military spokesperson told the Israeli paper Ha’aretz that the military is “beginning to carry out steps on the working assumption that there is a terrorist cell in the area that carried out the attack.”

The Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated that the military is “in pursuit now in order to capture the despicable terrorist and bring him to justice.”

The military has closed off nearby Palestinian villages and invaded them, issuing an order for Palestinians to remain in their homes.

This comes on the eve of the major Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, when many Palestinian families were planning to visit family in different parts of the West Bank. The curfews and closures have forced the families to remain indoors, and are a type of collective punishment on the Palestinian population in the area.

Israel Nabs Two Suspects in West Bank Murder of Soldier

One of the suspects believed to have carried out the stabbing attack that claimed the life of 19-year-old soldier and yeshiva student Dvir Sorek is a Hamas member

by Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury for Haaretz
Aug 10, 2019 8:24 PM

Two suspects were arrested Friday overnight in the West Bank murder of Israeli soldier Dvir Sorek, security forces said Saturday evening.

The two have been identified as 24-year-old Nseir Asafra and 30-year-old Kassem Asafra. The two are cousins, and both hail from the Palestinian town of Beit Kahil, situated northwest of Hebron. Kassem's wife Enas was also arrested, as was a third man, Akrama Asafra.

While neither Nseir nor Kassem Asafra were detained in the past on suspicion of carrying out any security-related offenses, one is known to be a Hamas operative.

Their arrests were carried out in a joint operation by a special Shin Bet security service task force, the Israeli military and the Yamam counter-terrorism unit of the Border Police. They took place as part of an investigation that was launched immediately after the attack, which was carried out on Thursday morning near the West Bank settlement of Gush Etzion.

The two suspects were passed on for further interrogations by the Shin Bet. The Israeli army also confiscated the vehicle that the two are suspected to have used in the attack. The military said that during the arrests, clashes broke out between security forces and some 100 Palestinians who hurled rocks at the troops. Forces used riot dispersal means to disperse the protesters.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement in which he extolled security forces for locating and arresting suspects within 48 hours of the attack. "In recent years, our forces reached all the Palestinian murderers who have hurt Israelis, and today they did it again," he wrote. "We will continue to forcefully fight against terrorism on all fronts."

Sorek's body was found marked with stab wounds in the early hours of Thursday morning, near the settlement of Migdal Oz. The 19-year-old was a resident of the Ofra settlement, and drafted to the Israel Defense Forces through a yeshiva program. On Wednesday, he left for Jerusalem wearing civilian clothing, and was supposed to return to his yeshiva near Migdal Oz. After yeshiva personnel were unable to reach him, security forces began searching for Sorek. The IDF believes he was stabbed to death when he walked from the bus station in Efrat to the yeshiva, a distance of 200 meters.

On Thursday, security forces apprehended a different suspect as part of efforts to locate the perpetrators of the attack, and released him on Friday. The man, aged 26, was arrested in the Palestinian village of Beit Fajjar, near Migdal Oz.

Israeli security forces also confiscated several cars from Beit Fajjar. Residents told reporters that their homes and businesses were searched as part of the manhunt, and that security cameras were confiscated.

Thus far, Israeli security officials do not know if the attack was perpetrated by an individual or a group, but believe that the assailants were aided by local residents in the Hebron area.

Contrary to earlier assessments, defense officials do not believe the killing was part of a botched kidnapping attempt.

Noa Landau contributed to this report.
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