Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian lured an Israeli soldier to a village in the West Bank and killed him with the intention of trading the body for his brother jailed for terror attacks, Israel’s intelligence agency said Saturday.
The 20-year-old soldier was reported missing late Friday and Israeli forces began looking for him, the Shin Bet intelligence agency said. The search led the troops to Nidal Amar, a 42-year-old Palestinian from Beit Amin a village near the city of Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank.
Amar was arrested and confessed to killing the soldier, whom he knew because they work at the same restaurant in the coastal city of Bat Yam in central Israel, the agency said. The military identified the slain soldier as Sgt. Tomer Hazan from Bat Yam.
According to Shin Bet, the Palestinian recounted how he had picked up Hazan in a taxi on Friday after convincing him to accept a ride. He took the Israeli to an open field, killed him and hid his body in a well, the agency said.
Israeli forces raided Amar’s home early Saturday, interrogating and arresting Amar and his brother.
Shin Bet said Amar confessed to intending to trade Hazan’s body for another brother, in an Israeli jail since 2003 for his role in several terror attacks. He then showed the Israeli forces where the body was hidden.
The agency did now say how Amar convinced the soldier to join him on the ride Friday.
A senior military official said initial investigations suggested that Palestinian individuals planned the attack on their own, not on the orders of any militant groups. The official did not elaborate on who else was involved in the plot besides Amar. The jailed bother had been involved in shootings and bombings, the official said.
Hazan had a non-combat position in the air force and had an arrangement allowing him to hold a job outside the military — at the restaurant, where he knew the Palestinian, the officials said. He was killed with a “cold weapon” — meaning, not a firearm — but the official would not disclose the exact weapon used. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
Such cases are rare, but it is not the first instance of Palestinians abducting Israeli soldiers, sometimes killing them afterward. The military has a long standing campaign warning soldiers not to accept rides from strangers.
In 2001 a Palestinian woman lured an Israeli teenage boy over the Internet to the West Bank where he was murdered by waiting Palestinian militants.
The woman, Amna Muna, was released along with over a thousand other Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a single Israeli soldier held captive in Gaza by Hamas-allied militants in 2011.
The latest deaths only increase the mistrust between the two sides as they hold negotiations after a hiatus of nearly five years. Talks collapsed in 2008, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spent months early this year persuading the sides to get talks back on track again.