IDF hunts door-to-door for Fogel family’s killers

Soldiers seen in Awarta, a village near Itamar, rounding up several dozen Palestinians in an effort to identify the attackers.

Soldiers at Itamar settlement 311 (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
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 said.
“They will be caught and brought to justice and made to pay for their actions.”
The attack was a “painful reminder of the unbearable bloody price that we must pay in the struggle for sovereignty,” Barak said.
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 near Nablus.
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.
As a 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.