Soldiers at Itamar settlement 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
The search for the perpetrators of Friday night’s Itamar massacre continued on
Sunday as the army stepped up its presence in nearby Awarta, going door-to-door
in search of suspects.
OC Central Command Maj.- Gen. Avi Mizrachi visited
the village on Sunday morning to oversee the IDF’s work. The military refused to
officially comment on the ongoing operations but many soldiers were seen inside
the village throughout the day.
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Soldiers and border policemen rounded up
several dozen Palestinians from villages near Itamar in an effort to identify
and apprehend the people who murdered Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their
children. Military sources said they were confident the army would capture the
killers in the coming days.
“The iron fist of the IDF and the Shin Bet
will quickly land on the murderers,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak
“They will be caught and brought to justice and made to pay for
The attack was a “painful reminder of the unbearable
bloody price that we must pay in the struggle for sovereignty,” Barak
The IDF was also investigating the failure of the military and
settlement security to realize that an infiltration had occurred, even after
receiving an alert from the electronic fence that surrounds Itamar, which is
According to the army, at around 9:30 p.m. an alert went off
about a possible infiltration after the fence wastouched. One of the security guards rushed to the location but did not see any
signs of an infiltration. He appears to have assumed that it was a false alarm
or that the alert was set off by an animal that touched the fence.
result, the IDF only learned about the attack close to midnight, after the
terrorists had already fled from Itamar.
On Sunday, army trackers
surveyed the area in an attempt to determine how the terrorists had entered the
community. It seemed likely that they climbed over the fence, which made it
difficult for the settlement security team to identify that there had been an
infiltration, since the fence remained intact.
The IDF beefed-up its
forces in the West Bank on Sunday in an effort to prevent clashes between
settlers and Palestinians.
On Sunday morning, Palestinians claimed that
hundreds of armed settlers were demonstrating in the Nablus area, blocking
access to roads and throwing rocks at Arab vehicles.
The police was
investigating allegations that settlers set a number of cars on fire in the
village of Hawara, also near Itamar.