Two Palestinian youths from the village of Awarta were arrested in
recent days for the brutal slaying of five members of the Fogel family
in their Itamar home
last month, the IDF and Shin Bet said on Sunday
following the lifting of a media ban on the investigation.
The suspects have been named
as Hakim Maazan Niad Awad, an 18-year-old high school student, and
Amjad Mahmud Fauzi Awad, 19, both from the West Bank village of Awarta,
located 2 kilometers south of the settlement of Itamar. RELATED:Fogel tragedy turned nation into one family, says PeresAbbas ‘impatient’ to know who carried out Itamar killings
suspects have confessed to the stabbings and re-enacted the murders,
security forces said on Sunday. According to Army Radio, they did not
express remorse for their crimes.
men are affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine (PLFP) terror group and received significant assistance from
family members and friends after the attack, security forces added.
suspects planned the stabbings days ahead of time. On the night of
March 11, after unsuccessful attempts to obtain firearms from a local
PFLP representative in their village, the two set out toward Itamar on
foot, armed with knives, a wirecutter and masks to cover their faces.
After walking one kilometer, they reached the fence surrounding Itamar. After seeing that the fence was electric, the suspects decided not to use their wire cutters and instead climbed over it. They then climbed through a forest and over a hilltop before reaching a row of homes.
The suspects at first entered a home adjacent to the Fogel
residence, but found that nobody was home. They stole an M-16 rifle from
the home, ammunition and body armor, before walking on.
"They saw children sleeping in the home, and entered the Fogel family residence," the IDF said.
after entering the home, the youths set their knives on two young
brothers sleeping in their beds, 4-year-old Elad and 11-year-old Yoav.
then entered the parents' bedroom, where they launched a knife attack
on Ehud and Ruth Fogel. The parents fought back, attempting to fend off
the attackers. At that point, one of the suspects shot Ruth with a stolen M-16, at which point the two died of their wounds.
two then left the house. One of the suspects, however, returned and stabbed to
death three-month-old baby Hadas after she began crying in her crib.
According to Israel Radio, Amjad said that he was unaware that there
were two other children in the house, and that if he had known, he would have
stabbed them as well.
After completing the slaughter, the
suspects walked back to the village and told Hakim's uncle, PFLP member
Salah Adin Awad, what they had done.
Salah hid their firearms and instructed them to burn their clothes, which were covered in blood.
youths then resumed their daily life, while Salah sent the weapons to a
friend in Ramallah, Jad Avid, who hid the guns in his home.
Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), which led the investigation, said the
attack was a premeditated terror attack carried out by suspects who
have affiliations with the PFLP.
"They received much support from family members and friends in their environment," the Shin Bet added.
Several suspected accomplices are also under arrest.
The IDF has arrested and questioned dozens of suspects in Awarta in recent weeks.
intelligence operation and pooling of resources [between the army,
police and Shin Bet] led to the arrests," a joint statement said.
Spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich said: “The murders of five family
members including a three-month baby constitute a clear war crime and a
crossing of all red lines. The IDF has invested in numerous operational
and intelligence efforts, and has worked closely with other security
forces in order to find those responsible for this vicious murder.”
Minister Yisrael Katz on Sunday expressed his condolences once again to
the Fogel family after the announcement of the arrests.
told Army Radio, "To those Palestinians who said 'it can't be one of us'
[who committed the crime], well it turned out to be one of you."
JPost.com staff contributed to this report.