IDF: Breakthrough in Fogel slayings expected

Troops detain more suspects as Palestinian villagers complain of abuse by soldiers, say over 100 residents detained since Itamar murders.

Soldiers at Itamar settlement 311 (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
Soldiers at Itamar settlement 311
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
A breakthrough is expected in the investigation of the Itamar killings as the IDF continues to arrest suspects from the Palestinian village of Awarta, which remains under a military curfew.
On Sunday, the IDF swept into the village and arrested over a dozen additional suspects in the brutal knife slayings of Udi and Ruth Fogel and their three children, including a three-month-old baby girl.
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According to Palestinians, over 100 residents of Awarta have been detained by the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) since the Fogel murders. The Palestinian Authority has called the arrests “incessant abuse campaigns held by the Israeli occupation army against the people of the Awarta village.” The Shin Bet has taken fingerprints from detainees, as well as DNA samples. Fifty men remain in custody.
Late Monday night, as he spoke with The Jerusalem Post by telephone, Awarta resident Jamal Kawarik said a helicopter was circling overhead and that soldiers were in the streets, including near his residence.
“Here,” Kawarik said. “I’m holding up the phone so you can hear the sound of the helicopter.”
He added that since the killing, the entire village has lived in fear. “We are not sleeping or eating well,” he said.
Earlier in the month, Kawarik and his wife were taken in for questioning but then released.
“Thank God nothing happened,” he said.
On Sunday morning, he said, the IDF entered the village at 4 a.m. and ransacked a number of homes.
“They threw everything on the floor,” he told the Post. “The oil, the rice, the salt, the sugar, the flour – and they mixed it together as if it was in a mixing bowl. It got on everything – the sofa, the clothes.”
On Sunday, residents of Itamar marked the shloshim, or 30 days since the killings, and laid a cornerstone for a new study hall at the yeshiva where Udi taught before he was killed.
Shots were fired at an Israeli vehicle near Karnei Shomron on Monday night, but no one was hurt, Israel Radio reported.