A Palestinian man lured a 20-year-old soldier to the West Bank and murdered him
on Friday, before hiding the body in a well, security forces announced on
The murder victim has been identified as Sgt. Tomer Hazan, of
Bat Yam. He served in the Israel Air Force. His funeral will take place Sunday
afternoon at the Holon military cemetery.
The terror suspect, who is in
custody, told security forces he led the victim, with whom he worked together in
a restaurant in Bat Yam, to the West Bank, where he committed the
He then hoped to secure the release of his brother – an
incarcerated terrorist arrested in 2003 for being part of a suicide bombing
attack cell – by offering to return the soldier.
Security forces believe
the suspect planned to deceive Israel by not notifying them that he had killed
the soldier before reaching an agreement to release his brother.
Bet (Israel Security Agency) received a report on Friday evening about the
disappearance of a soldier who had failed to contact his family since the
morning. The missing man’s family informed authorities of his
The report prompted the Shin Bet to set up a special
operations room together with the IDF and Israel Police.
investigation proceeded, special forces from the IDF’s Duvdevan undercover unit
and the police’s Counter-Terrorism Unit began searches.
investigation it emerged that a Palestinian resident of the village of Beit
Amin, in the Kalkilya region, named as 42-year-old Nedal Amar, worked with the
soldier at a Bat Yam restaurant.
The two took a taxi on Friday to the
Samaria settlement of Sha’arei Tikva, near Amar’s village, the Shin Bet
Acting on the information, security forces raided Amar’s home in
Beit Amin and arrested him and another brother.
During questioning, Amar
confessed to persuading the soldier to join him for a ride to his residence, the
Shin Bet said. The manner in which the suspect persuaded the victim to accompany
him remains unknown.
After leading the soldier to an open area near the
Palestinian village of Saniria, Amar killed the soldier by using a blunt weapon,
and hid the body in a well, a senior army source said.
interrogation, Amar said his motive for the murder was to ‘trade’ the soldier’s
body for the release of his brother, Nur al-Din Amar, a [Fatah] Tanzim member in
prison since 2003,” the Shin Bet said.
Amar then led security forces to
the hiding spot where he had placed the body. Security forces said additional
arrests are expected, and that the investigation is still ongoing.
had been working in Israel illegally. He applied to enter Israel under the
family reunification law, but was rejected.
The army source added that
initial indications are that the suspect worked alone, and was not part of a
larger terrorist organization.
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich sent
her condolences to Hazan’s family.
“This is a shocking act, that took
advantage of permission to enter Israel and Hazan’s trust in the murderer,” she
Yacimovich called for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to give
in to terrorism and to continue peace talks with the
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel called to stop
all planned prisoner releases.
According to Ariel, “prisoner releases do
not bring peace closer. They bring bloodshed like we saw
“The absurd dance of releasing terrorists continues to harm the
State of Israel’s security, since the terrorists themselves learned that we
don’t have red lines,” Ariel said.
According to Economy and Trade
Minister Naftali Bennett, “20 years after the Oslo Accords [were signed], our
partner hasn’t changed.
“The murder meant to free a Fatah murderer and
release a soldier of [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] shows once
again who our partner is,” Bennett said. “We do not make peace with terrorists
who throw soldiers into pits; we fight them without mercy.”
comes after several failed attempts by terrorist organizations to kidnap and
kill soldiers, to secure the release of Palestinian security
“We see this is as part of a flow of attempts to carry out
such acts,” the army source said. He called on Israelis to exercise caution, and
not make themselves vulnerable to “elements who can turn out to be
“From previous cases, they [the terrorists] know how hard it is
to keep kidnapped soldiers alive, due to our intelligence grasp of the area. We
see from the past that they will tend to murder kidnapped soldiers and then
negotiate [with Israel],” the source said.
An additional security source
told The Jerusalem Post that there have been more than 30 attempts to kidnap
soldiers this year.
“We’re always on alert for this threat. There’s been
a media campaign by the IDF to warn soldiers of the dangers, and during
briefings before home leave, soldiers are warned about the risks. The threat is
well known, and it’s at our doorstep,” the source added.
In March, a
Palestinian resident of the West Bank appeared before an Israeli military court
and was charged with attempting to set up a terrorist cell, after being
recruited for the mission by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
allegedly worked under the instruction of Hamas’s Gaza military wing, Izzadin
Kassam, and plotted to fire rockets and kidnap and kill a soldier.