'Itamar massacre' killer, Hakim Awad, convicted

Hakim Awad found guilty in Samaria Military court in brutal murder of five members of Fogel family, accomplice awaits trial.

Suspects in Fogel, Itamar massacre_311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Suspects in Fogel, Itamar massacre_311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Samaria Military Court on Tuesday convicted 18- year-old Hakim Awad for the murder of five members of the Fogel family in the Itamar settlement. The victims include three children between three months and 11 years of age, and their parents, Ehud and Ruth.
Awad admitted to the charges against him in the indictment, according to which he and another youth, Amjad Awad, murdered the Fogel family in March.
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Despite the fact that Hakim Awad, a high school student, had confessed his part in the murder to security services and the court, Judge Lt- Colonel Menahem Lieberman nevertheless decided to examine detailed evidence gathered by the prosecution, including forensic findings, in order to rule out that Awad had lied about his part in the crime for “glory.”
Hakim Awad was also convicted of weapons offenses and various other security offenses.
The two youths were arrested in April following an intensive, large-scale investigation by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the IDF’s elite Duvdevan Unit and forensic officers from the police’s Special Intelligence Branch.
Although the youths carried out the attack on their own initiative, they are affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) terror group, and received significant assistance from family members and friends after the attack, the IDF said.
The following account of the massacre is based on confessions and a reenactment of the attack by the Hakim Awad and Amjad Awad, and a painstaking investigation led by the Shin Bet.
On the night of March 11, as the Fogel family slept in their home in Itamar, Hakim and Amjad Awad set out from the village of Awarta, two kilometers to the south, armed with knives, face masks and a wire cutter.
The two planned to carry out the murders of Israelis days before, and made unsuccessful attempts to obtain firearms from a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of PFLP representative in their village. But the lack of guns did not dissuade the two from carrying out their plan to murder Israelis.
The youths set out from their village on foot, and after a kilometer, they cut a wire fence around Itamar, climbed over a forest hilltop, and reached a row of homes in the settlement.
They first entered a home adjacent to the Fogel residence, but found that nobody was there. They stole an M-16 rifle from the home, ammunition and body armor before walking on down the street.
The youths then saw the Fogel-family residence, and spotted children sleeping through the window.
Immediately after entering the home, the youths set their knives on two young brothers sleeping in their beds, fouryear- old Elad and 11-year-old Yoav, killing them both.
They then entered the parents’ bedroom, where they launched a knife attack on Ehud and Ruth Fogel. The parents fought back, attempting to fend off the attackers, but died of their stab wounds during the struggle.
The two then left the house, before hearing cries from three-month-old baby Hadas.
Awoken by the attack, the baby lay in her crib in her parents’ bedroom.
“They went back into the house and stabbed the baby to death to silence her cries,” a security source said.
Two other children remained in the home, but were spared because Hakim and Amjad did not know of their presence. Amjad later told interregators that he would have killed them too had he known that they were in the home.
After murdering five members of the family, the suspects walked back to the village, and told Hakim’s uncle, PFLP member Salah Adin Awad, what they did.
Salah hid their firearms, and instructed them to burn their bloody clothes.
The youths then resumed their daily lives, while Salah sent the weapons to a friend in Ramallah, Jad Avid, who hid the guns in his home.
The military court is expected to reconvene at a later date to hear arguments for sentencing Hakim Awad.
The second youth indicted in the massacre, Amjad Awad, will be tried separately, because he and Hakim have testified against each other and therefore cannot legally be tried together.
According to a spokesperson for the IDF, Amjad Awad will be tried on August 16.