JERUSALEM — Two Israeli soldiers were killed by Palestinians over the weekend.
One was shot Sunday at a West Bank checkpoint in Hebron by a Palestinian sniper and died of his wounds, the Israeli army said. Another was murdered by a former Palestinian co-worker while visiting the West Bank with him.
Hebron remained under a curfew after the Sunday shooting, which happened near the Cave of the Patriarchs. The army evacuated some 11,000 visitors from Hebron who were participating in tours and programming for the intermediate days of Sukkot. Worshipers were ejected from the Cave of the Patriarchs following the shooting.
The soldier, Sgt. Gal Gabriel Kobi, 20, was hit in the neck by a bullet and rushed to a Jerusalem hospital, where he died. He was buried Monday afternoon at the Haifa Military Cemetery. Mourners included his comrades from the Givati Brigade. Kobi hailed from the Western Galilee town of Tirat Hacarmel.
Israeli troops and Palestinian residents of Hebron clashed following the shooting, according to the Times of Israel. Haaretz reported that the clashes began before the shooting.
"This lethal attack illustrates the complex security challenges the IDF faces on a daily basis in Judea & Samaria," said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces. "The IDF will employ the necessary means, operational and intelligence, to apprehend those responsible for this deathly attack."
The other soldier who died was Tomer Hazan, 20, a sergeant in the Israeli Air Force. His body was discovered on Saturday after his family alerted officials that he had not been in touch with them since Friday morning.
Nadal Amar, 42, was arrested Saturday by Israeli security services and confessed to killing Hazan near Amar's hometown of Kalkilya and hiding the body in a well.
Amar told Israel Security Agency agents that he planned to exchange Hazan's body for the release of his brother, Nur Al Din Amar, a Fatah operative imprisoned since 2003 for his involvement in several terror attacks, according to the Israel Defense Forces spokesman's office.
"The criminal incident proves once again that the fight against terrorism is constant," Army Radio quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying.
Hazan and Amar, who had worked together at Tzachi Meats in central Israel, reportedly got into a taxi together and traveled to an Israeli community near Kalkilya.
Amar had been working in Israel illegally, according to the IDF, and had been turned down for a request to enter Israel under the family reunification law.
The owner of Tzachi Meats told the Israeli media that he believed Amar had legal work documents. He closed his Bat Yam restaurant for a week in solidarity with the family, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The United Nations' special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, condemned the "shocking murder" and called for calm on both sides "at this critical moment in the political process.”
Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, wrote on his Facebook page that the murder "is a terrible reminder that every day Israel is dealing with murderous, animal-like terrorists. We should not abandon the security of Israel to anyone except ourselves.”