Suspects in Fogel, Itamar massacre_311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The IDF Spokesperson on Sunday confirmed the arrest of two Palestinians, one a minor, from Awarta, in the March murder of five Fogel family members in their home in the Itamar settlement. The arrest was a joint IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operation.
The suspects committed the crime for nationalistic reasons, and according to Army Radio, admitted to the crime without expressing remorse. Six others have been remanded on suspicion of involvement in the murders.
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According to Shin Bet findings, the two teens, 18-year-old Hakem Awwad and 19-year-old Amjad Awwad, carried out the crime based on their own convictions and without direction by any specific political or terrorist organization.
IDF 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.”
On the Friday of the murders, the two reportedly met at 3:00 p.m. and planned to carry out the murder. At 9:00 p.m. they met again, equipped with knives, and broke into the Itamar settlement. The two broke into one home, which was empty, and stole an M16 rifle. Afterward, they went to the Fogel family home.
The teenage suspects proceeded to murder two of the children by stabbing, and then entered the parents' bedroom. Udi and Ruti Fogel awoke to the murderers' presence, and began to struggle with them. In the end, the suspects gained control and murdered them as well.
The two then left the house. One of the suspects returned and murdered the three-month-old baby Hadas, taking an M16 from the house.
According to Israel Radio, Amjad said that he was unaware that there were two other children in the house, and that if he knew, he would have stabbed them as well.
Following the incident, the two suspects involved five others, mostly relatives, to help cover up their crime. Hakem's uncle, Saleh, reportedly hid the knives, burned their clothing from the night of the murders, and brought the stolen weapons to Ramallah resident Jad Obeid.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz on Sunday expressed his condolences once again to the Fogel family after the IDF confirmed earlier that they had arrested 2 Palestinians in connection with the Itamar murders.
Katz told Army Radio, "To those Palestinians who said 'it can't be one of us' [who committed the crime], well turned out to be one of you."