IDF to indict Palestinian for West Bank murder of IDF soldier

Co-worker at Bat Yam eatery allegedly lured 20-year-old Tomer Hazan to open field, where he killed him.

Tomer Hazan (photo credit: Courtesy Hazan family)
Tomer Hazan
(photo credit: Courtesy Hazan family)
Nedal Amar, the Palestinian man who allegedly lured 20- year-old soldier Sgt. Tomer Hazan to the West Bank and murdered him in mid-September, is to be indicted in the Judea Military Court on Thursday, The Jerusalem Post has learned from security sources.
The IDF Prosecution is expected on Thursday to seek to detain Hazan until the end of the legal proceedings against him.
The case has been almost constantly in the headlines, because Amar allegedly murdered someone who he knew and worked with.
The murder has had a higher than usual profile, as politicians across the spectrum, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, have weighed in on the murder, which, since it coincided with Palestinian prisoner releases, was a springboard for leaders on the right to criticize the releases.
The timing was so sensitive for the peace process that even UN officials made public comments condemning the killing and calling for calm.
Following the murder, there have been protests and attempts to burn the restaurant where Amar and Hazan worked together.
Amar told security forces that he led Hazan to the West Bank, where he killed him, and hoped to secure the release of his brother – an incarcerated terrorist arrested in 2003 for being part of a suicide bombing attack cell – by offering to return the soldier’s body.
Security forces believe the suspect planned to deceive Israel by not notifying them that he had killed the soldier before reaching an agreement to release his brother.
When Hazan was reported as missing, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) set up a special operations room together with the IDF and Israel Police.
As the investigation proceeded, special forces from the IDF’s undercover Duvdevan Unit and the police’s Counter-Terrorism Unit began searches.
During the investigation it emerged that a Palestinian resident of the village of Beit Amin, in the Kalkilya region, named as Amar, worked with the soldier at a Bat Yam restaurant.
The two took a taxi to the Samaria settlement of Sha’arei Tikva, near Amar’s village, the Shin Bet said.
Acting on the information, security forces raided Amar’s home and arrested him and another brother.
During questioning, Amar confessed to persuading the soldier to join him for a ride to his residence, the Shin Bet said.
The manner in which the suspect persuaded the victim to accompany him remains unknown, but is expected to be revealed on Thursday.
After leading the soldier to an open area near the Palestinian village of Sannirya, Amar killed the soldier by using a blunt weapon, a senior army source said.
“During his interrogation, Amar said his motive for the murder was to ‘trade’ the soldier’s body for the release of his brother, Nur al-Din Amar, a [Fatah] Tanzim member in prison since 2003,” the Shin Bet said.
Amar had been working in Israel illegally. He applied to enter Israel under the Family Reunification Law, but was rejected.
The army source added that initial indications are that the suspect worked alone, and was not part of a larger terrorist organization.
“From previous cases, they [the terrorists] know how hard it is to keep kidnapped soldiers alive, due to our intelligence grasp of the area. We see from the past that they will tend to murder kidnapped soldiers and then negotiate [with Israel],” the source said.
In March, a Palestinian resident of the West Bank appeared before an Israeli military court and was charged with attempting to set up a terrorist cell, after being recruited for the mission by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The suspect allegedly worked under the instruction of Hamas’s Gaza military wing, Izzadin Kassam, and plotted to fire rockets and kidnap and kill a soldier.Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.