IDF unveils photos of arrest of Dvir Sorek's alleged murderers

A large scale manhunt was launched on Thursday morning.

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August 11, 2019 09:04
4 minute read.
The Israeli military arrested two Palestinians suspected of the murder of Cpl. Dvir Sorek over the w

The Israeli military arrested two Palestinians suspected of the murder of Cpl. Dvir Sorek over the weekend on August 10, 2019.. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The Israeli military arrested two Palestinians suspected of the murder of Cpl. Dvir Sorek over the weekend, the IDF announced Saturday evening.

The two terrorists were identified as 24-year-old Nazir Saleh Khalil Atafra – a Hamas activist – and 30-year-old Qasem Araf Khalil Atafra. Both are from the Palestinian village Beit Kahil, north of Hebron in the West Bank, and have had no previous arrests.

The Israeli military arrested two Palestinians suspected of the murder of Cpl. Dvir Sorek over the weekend on August 10, 2019.


Earlier on Saturday, four suspects – including a woman – were arrested in a raid in Beit Kahil, the Wafa Palestinian News Agency reported.

According to the report, troops arrested four members of the Asafrah family, including 26-year-old Enas Asafrah.

During the arrest, Qasem’s car – in which they carried out the attack – was also confiscated.

A large riot of 100 Palestinians broke out during the arrest, leading to troops having to resort to riot dispersal means against the demonstrators.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I praise the ISA and the security forces for apprehending the murders of Dvir Sorek within 48 hours."


The Israeli military arrested two Palestinians suspected of the murder of Cpl. Dvir Sorek over the weekend on August 10, 2019.


“In recent years, our forces have laid hands on all of the Palestinian murderers who have attacked Israelis and today, they have done so again,” Netanyahu said.

“We will continue to forcefully fight terrorism on all fronts,” he added.

President Reuven Rivlin said, “A tense Shabbat, closely monitoring events. I salute our forces working night and day in Judea and Samaria and in Gaza.

“Thank you, the intelligence and operational units, for capturing the abominable terrorists responsible for the murder of Dvir Sorek (z"l). Thank you, the observers who sit with concentration and professionalism at the monitoring devices, and the heroic soldiers for stopping the severe terrorist attack planned by the criminal terrorist squad,” Rivlin said.

Large numbers of troops from the IDF, Israel Police and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) had been conducting searches for Sorek’s killers since his body was discovered with multiple stab wounds on Thursday morning near Migdal Oz, south of Jerusalem.

The Israeli military arrested two Palestinians suspected of the murder of Cpl. Dvir Sorek over the weekend on August 10, 2019.

Sorek was enrolled in the Hesder military program at the Orthodox Machanayim Yeshiva in Migdal Oz, by which he would have simultaneously served in the IDF as both as a soldier and yeshiva student.

Earlier in the day, he had been in Jerusalem, and told his friends that he planned to be back in school by about 8:30 p.m. He was last seen getting off the bus at around 8.00 p.m before walking towards Migdal Oz. His body was found at 3 a.m. near the road leading up to his school, which is located on the edge of Migdal Oz, by the gate.

As part of the manhunt, security forces have been closing off villages as they looked for the perpetrators. This included Beit Fajar, where, according to local Palestinian reports, IDF troops arrested Ammar Thawabteh, 29, on Friday and confiscated his car.

Security officials had been concerned that the cell, which is believed to have been getting help, could have attempted to commit other deadly attacks and inspire other copy-cat attacks.

"This is a very tense time,” IDF spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said on Saturday, explaining that the heightened tensions come ahead of the Jewish fast day of Tisha Be’av and the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the Shin Bet announced last month that it had foiled a series of attempts by the military wing of Hamas to establish terror cells in the West Bank.

On Tuesday, the agency cleared for publication the arrests of two Hamas operatives who were operating under the direction of the group’s military wing in the Gaza Strip to carry out attacks against Israeli and Palestinian Authority targets.

Cell members were instructed to establish teams to carry out kidnappings, shooting and stabbing attacks, to purchase weapons and to recruit others to carry out terrorist attacks, the Shin Bet said.

“The military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip continues to invest considerable efforts in establishing terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank with the aim of promoting terrorist attacks in Israel aimed at undermining regional stability,” a senior Shin Bet officer said.

While security forces were able to foil large-scale attacks and arrest 130 Hamas operatives planning them, terror attacks by lone wolves have claimed the lives of 13 Israelis, including Sorek, in 2019.

In March, 19-year-old St.-Sgt. Gal Keidan and 47-year-old Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger were killed in a shooting attack outside Ariel by 19-year-old Omar Amin Abu Lila, who escaped from the scene of the attack. He was found and shot dead by Israeli troops two days after the attack near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.



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