The IDF commander in Judea and Samaria warns that the capture of the Itamar massacre terrorists does not put an end to terror.
Brigadier General Nitzan Alon, in an interview with Israel National News (Arutz 7), stated, “We have not reached the ability to relax. There are many threats, especially that of kidnapping, and I call on young people to coordinate their hikes [with authorities] and to think carefully when hitchhiking.” He advised people not to try to hitch a ride on roads that are not safe.
The IDF has clamped a closure on Judea and Samaria during the Passover holiday, with allowances for Arabs to travel for humanitarian or professional purposes. In Gaza, the military is on high alert.
In the interview, Brig,-Gen. Alon revealed that after the brutal Sabbath eve murders of five members of the Fogel family last month, it was clear from the terrorists’ tracks that they came from the neighboring Arab village of Awarta.
However, he said the investigation was complicated and involved several branches of the military. He said that the first attacker was captured two weeks ago and the second one a week later. Although the murder weapons have been located and confiscated and accomplices have been arrested, the investigation is continuing, he added.
The IDF commander said the army made sure that the investigation was exclusively Israeli, without any attempt to seek cooperation by the Palestinian Authority. After the savage slaughter of Rabbi Udi and Ruthie Fogel and three of their six small children, including a baby, Palestinian Authority officials asserted that the murderers might have been carried out by Jews, with criminal links, or by foreign workers of the Fogel family at Itamar.
Israel National News reported that a survey of the community revealed that no foreign workers were employed there.
Brig.-Gen Nitzan also said he could not verify the report that one of the terrorists may have been able to plan details of how to attack while he was picking olives near Itamar, under IDF protection.”
Jewish leaders in Judea and Samaria praised the IDF for finding the terrorists but added that the murders should serve as reminders to the government of the reality of the Palestinian Authority.
“Leftists should look at the pictures of these monsters that grew out of the educational system of incitement run by our ‘peace partner.’ the Palestinian Authority and its terrorists, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas,” said Gershon Mesika, chairman of the Shomron (Samaria) Regional Council.
Benny Katzover, chairman of the Samaria Residents Committee, pointed a finger at Defense Minister Ehud Barak for "taking steps to weaken the IDF’s ability to prevent terrorist attack by removing checkpoints and roadblocks."