The Shin Bet Security Service announced yesterday that it had arrested two Palestinians in connection with the brutal murder of five members of the Fogel family in the West Bank settlement of Itamar last month. The Shin Bet named the two suspects as Hakim Awad, 18, and Amjad Awad, 19, who confessed to stabbing to death Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their six children, including a three-month-old baby, whilst they were sleeping.
According to details provided by the Israeli Prime Minister’s office, on March 11, Hakim and Amjad set out for Itamar, armed with knives and tools to cut the perimeter fence. They crossed from the nearby Palestinian village Awarta to Itamar and climbed over the fence. Once inside Itamar, they continued to approach the first row of houses. They then broke into a home opposite the Fogel residence but found nobody inside. They stole an M-16 assault rifle, clips and a flak jacket. They then exited the home and broke into the Fogel residence. Having spotted children while still outside, they stabbed to death 11-year-old Yoav and 4-year-old Elad. The two then entered the bedroom where the parents, Ruth and Udi, were sleeping with three-month-old Hadas and murdered all three, following a struggle. Before leaving they stole another M-16 assault rifle. The two then returned to Awarta on foot and went to the home of Hakim’s uncle, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) militant Salah E-Sin Awad, and informed him of what they had done. Salah helped them hide the stolen weapons and knives, and burned their bloody clothes.
Both suspects are also affiliated with the PFLP, though it seems they were not instructed to carry out the murders but acted alone, making the process of acquiring intelligence in aide of the investigation more difficult. A senior Shin Bet official said the suspects “described what they did with self-control and did not express regret over their actions at any stage of the investigation.” An additional six suspects from the town of Awarta were also arrested on suspicion of involvement in concealing evidence and hiding a murder weapon.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday commended the Shin Bet for the investigation and arrest of the two suspects. “The great work done here expresses our commitment to the idea that justice and security are with us,” Netanyahu said.