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Monday, February 26, 2007

Palestinian murderers of settler confess

Last update - 19:51 26/02/2007
A murder a day, keeps peace away. Settlements did not bring security for the victim, and terror will not bring freedom for the murderers.

Two Palestinians arrested for murder of Israeli in West Bank

By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondents

Israel Defense Forces troops have arrested two Palestinian youths for the murder of an Israeli whose body was found north of the West Bank city of Hebron late Sunday, the Shin Bet security service said Monday.

Mudar Abu-Dia and Mousaa Ahalil, both 18, were arrested overnight in a village near the site of the murder. During their questioning, both confessed to having stabbed to death Erez Levanon, 42.

They said they had planned the murder in advance and visited the site a few times in order to follow the movement of settlers in the area.

The motive of the murder was nationalist, but the suspects said they acted out of their own interests and not on behalf of any terrorist organization. The suspects were arrested by soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces' Shimshon Battalion.

Police had said earlier Monday that the man was killed by Palestinian terrorists, but did not give an explanation, "The murder was carried out on the basis of a terrorist attack," Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. "He was stabbed several times."

No Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Security forces found the body of the man, a resident of a West Bank settlement, late Sunday night near Beit Omar, north of the West Bank city of Hebron.

He had been missing since late Sunday afternoon and was found near a local spring by Palestinian residents of the area.

Rosenfeld did not say how police knew that militants were behind the attack.

At about 10 P.M., Palestinians reported to police that the man's body had been seen between the settlement of Bat Ayin West in Gush Etzion and the Palestinian village of Beit Omar.

The man apparently sustained stab wounds all over his body, and his vehicle was later found overturned nearby.

A large number of police and Israel Defense Forces troops conducted searches in nearby villages in an attempt to locate the assailants.

An Israeli was last killed by Palestinian militants in the West Bank in August when gunmen shot a soldier at a military checkpoint. Israeli security forces found the body of an Israeli civilian in a Palestinian village in the West Bank earlier this month. Police said he had died in an accident.

IDF raid in Nablus
The largest Israeli raid in the West Bank for months entered its second day Monday, with tens of thousands of Palestinians confined
to their Nablus homes as soldiers searched for militants and arms.

In the operation, which involved four IDF battalions and a large contingent of Border Police, the forces raided the city's old market and uncovered an explosives laboratory, the second in 24 hours.

A full curfew was imposed on tens of thousands of residents of the market area.

The defense establishment decided on the move following an increase in the number of alerts which suggested that various Nablus terror networks were planning attacks. The Shin Bet security service is concerned about an improved ability by the Palestinians to produce explosives and an increased motivation to carry out attacks.

The most-wanted list includes six high-level activists of the Fatah's Tanzim movement as well as a few dozen militants from Tanzim and the Islamic Jihad. The IDF took over the city's radio and TV stations for a few minutes and called on the six wanted men to surrender. They also distributed leaflets to residents asking them to tell the IDF where the wanted men were by calling a special phone number.

Three of the men have been arrested so far, and a number of residents have been detained for questioning. Two soldiers were lightly wounded by shrapnel when an explosive charge was thrown at them.

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