An unarmed Israeli soldier was found stabbed to death in the West Bank on Wednesday morning, triggering a huge manhunt for the killer.
Dvir Sorek, 18, from the settlement of Ofra, was studying at a yeshivah in Migdal Oz, south of Jerusalem, while taking part in his military service. He had been on his way back from buying books that he intended to gift to his rabbi.
Sorek’s body was found on the road between Efrat and Kibbutz Migdal Oz, near the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, in the early hours of Wednesday, prompting Israeli troops to begin their search in the nearby Palestinian village of Beit Fajar.
Army spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said the Charedi soldier was not in uniform at the time of his killing. Sorek’s relatives reported him missing on Tuesday night and an IDF tracking team found his body at 02.30 the next day.
“The security forces are currently in pursuit to apprehend the abhorrent terrorist and bring him to justice,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “On behalf of myself and the government, I send condolences to the family.”
Security officials are working on several theories, including the possibility that the killing was a botched kidnapping, and that it was the work of a new terror cell.
Sorek’s family is well-known in the area. His father, Yoav, edits the widely-read Shiloach Journal, while his maternal grandfather, Rabbi Binyamin Herling, was also killed in a terror attack in the settlements, after being shot in 2000. He was 64.
British Jewish groups joined in the condemnation of Sorek’s attackers. A spokeswoman for Yachad described it as “heart-breaking,” adding: “Our prayers are with Dvir’s family. May he be the last victim of this painful conflict.”