Israeli stabbed to death near Hebron

Bat Ayin settler's murder likely terror-related; locals note dangers of area.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL,
February 26, 2007 03:05
1 minute read.
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Erez Levanon, a settler from Bat Ayin, a community in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, was found stabbed to death Sunday night in a ravine north of Hebron. Sources in the security establishment said on Sunday morning that Levanon's stabbing appeared to be a terror attack. Security officials said that Levanon, father of three, 42, was found with a fatal stab wound to the neck after he apparently went out to the area to meditate. Yaki Morag, the head of security for the small town, told Army Radio in an interview that the area where Levanon was killed was fraught with dangers. "This is a grove where we usually go to meditate. It turns out that the Arabs followed him, saw him, and took advantage of the opportunity," he said. "I would always remind him to go out armed, and I don't know if that would have helped." Levanon's funeral will leave the settlement of Bat Ayin at 2 p.m. towards the Kfar Etzion cemetery. He was survived by a wife and three children. Shortly before 11 p.m., Judea and Samaria Police received reports from what they described as "foreign channels" that an Israeli had been found dead in the Hebron area. In fact, a number of Palestinians allegedly reported the murder - or the discovery of the body - to Palestinian Authority security forces, who relayed the message to the Israel Police. When police arrived at the scene, they discovered the body of the man, who had been missing since 6 p.m. A doctor pronounced him dead at the scene. His vehicle was also recovered, indicating that auto theft was probably not the motive behind the murder. Although late Sunday night the motive for the stabbing was still unknown, terrorism was considered a likely possibility. IDF forces were dispatched to comb the area in search of possible assailants. Sources in the Central Command said there were a number of terror alerts regarding Palestinian plans to kidnap and murder Israelis. The officials did not rule out the possibility that the murder was criminally motivated.

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