Palestinian suspects admit to West Bank murder of IDF reserve colonel

Security source: Reports that last week’s attack in northeastern West Bank was criminally-motivated are unfounded.

Men arrested for murder of former IDF colonel (photo credit: Courtesy)
Men arrested for murder of former IDF colonel
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Security forces arrested three Palestinians from the Hebron area over the weekend on suspicion of murdering former senior IDF officer Col. (res.) Sraya Ofer early on Thursday outside of his home in the Jordan Valley.
A senior security source said it was still too soon to conclusively determine the motive for the deadly attack, but added that some media reports claiming that the incident was a failed robbery or otherwise criminal in nature were unfounded.
It appears that security forces believe that the slaying was most likely a terrorist attack.
Ofer, nicknamed Yaya, was set upon by men carrying metal bars and axes after stepping outside of his home in the vacation village of Brosh Habika early on Friday morning.
His wife, Monique, fled the scene and survived.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) took the lead in the investigation, and began chasing down intelligence leads from the moment the murder was reported. Meanwhile, a mobile crime scene investigation lab set up by Judea and Samaria police found several items, including murder weapons, security forces said.
On Saturday, following an intelligence tip-off received by Shin Bet, three Palestinian residents of the village of Deir Samet, near Hebron, were arrested.
Two of the suspects, named as Fard Talab Harub, 18, and Basher Ahmed Harub, 21, confessed to carrying out the murder, Shin Bet added.
The suspects said during questioning that they arrived at the murder victim’s home two weeks ago late at night, though they did not assault anyone on that occasion.
The information is consistent with an account given by Sraya’s wife, Monique, who told security forces that youths from Hebron had previously arrived at her home in a suspicious manner.
Five Palestinians arrested by security forces on Friday have been released without charge.
Lt.-Col. Yoav Bruner, commander of the 890th Battalion of the Paratroopers Brigade, said more than 10 soldiers arrived at the murder scene minutes after initial reports of an incident were received, finding bloodstained gloves and items used in the homicide.
“After fleeing the scene, the killers walked eight to 10 km. south on foot, before entering a vehicle and leaving the area,” Bruner said.
“We found the footprints at 3 a.m.,” Bruner said, adding that soldiers tracked them into the morning hours.
Bruner said none of the equipment left behind by the attackers indicated that they had intended to rob Ofer’s home.
Speaking to Channel 10 from her hospital bed, Monique Ofer said on Saturday, “I simply can’t believe it. It didn’t happen. He was an incredible man. I feel like I’ve lost the most precious thing in my life.”