Two Palestinian youths from Awarta, have confessed to killing five members of the Fogel family in nearby Itamar on Friday night, March 11.
The suspects, who were arrested in the past few days – along with several accomplices – are Hakim Maazan Niad Awad, 18, a high-school student, and Amjad Mahmud Fauzi Awad, 19, also a student.
They are from the same clan, but not directly related.
The two men have admitted to planning a terrorist attack against Jews, and confessed to the stabbings. They reenacted the attacks for investigators, security personnel said on Sunday.
The intruders broke into the Fogel home in the Itamar settlement and stabbed to death five members of the family in their sleep: Udi Fogel, 36, Ruth Fogel, 35, and their children Yoav, 11, Elad, four, and Hadas, three months.
The terrorists did not know that the Fogels’ two other children were sleeping in a side room, so their lives were spared.
“I have never heard such heartless testimony,” a Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) source told Channel 2 on Sunday night.
The suspects reenacted the murder and the planning leading up to it with accuracy and without emotion, the source said, adding that they expressed no remorse.
When asked if they regretted killing small children and a baby, Amjad responded that they had killed “five Israelis and Jews,” and didn’t regard their age as a factor.
Although the young men carried out the attack on their own initiative, they are affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and received significant help from family members and friends after the attack, the IDF said.
Relatives on Sunday claimed the two were innocent and had been framed by the Shin Bet.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday the capture of the Fogel family murderers showed that this country would not ignore the “slaughter and murder of our people.
“I was updated in recent weeks and days on the progress of the investigation,” Netanyahu said soon after the arrests were announced, at a ceremony marking the induction of new Prisons Service Commissioner Aaron Franco.
“I must commend all of the security personnel who sought to ensure that their findings were complete – not only with regard to the capture of the murderers themselves, but also those who helped them,” the prime minister said.
“A great deal of work was done here that expresses our commitment to justice. I don’t know if the capture of the murderers gives a complete answer, but without it there is not even a partial one. The knowledge that the state made a commitment to find the murderers – and indeed found them within a short time – bears witness to the fact that we will not ignore when they slaughter and murder our people.”
Lt.-Col. Nimrod Aloni, commander of the Samaria Brigade, said following the arrests that dozens of raids were carried out in Awarta – led by the Duvdevan undercover anti-terror special unit, which captured the main suspects.
“The operation has proved that in any situation in which Jews are harmed, the IDF and the Samaria Brigade will do all that is necessary to capture the murderers... or strike at them. We will not allow people of this kind to wander around freely,” he said.
Aloni warned that terrorist organizations in the West Bank had “high motivation” to carry out attacks.
“We have a long, hard war ahead of us,” he cautioned. “It is not possible to comfort the family... but these efforts to capture the murderers and bring them to justice are a small contribution – and there is a bit of comfort in the knowledge that the murderers are not wandering around freely.”
The investigation was jointly carried out by the Shin Bet, the IDF and police.
Forensic officers from the Israel Police’s Investigations and Intelligence Branch took an active role in helping to identify the suspects, police said.
The officers “collected and built up the evidence that led to the [arrest] operations,” Israel Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen said on Sunday.
Duvdevan is the nickname for an IDF special forces unit that is directly subordinate to the Judea and Samaria Division.
Duvdevan is noted for conducting undercover operations against terrorists in urban areas.
During these operations, Duvdevan soldiers typically drive modified
civilian vehicles and wear Arab civilian clothes as a disguise.