The IDF Spokesperson on Sunday confirmed the arrest of two Palestinians, one a minor, from Awarta, in the March murder of five Fogel family members in their home in the Itamar settlement. The arrest was a joint IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operation.Ha'aretz adds more details, slightly at odds with JPost's:
The suspects committed the crime for nationalistic reasons, and according to Army Radio, admitted to the crime without expressing remorse. Six others have been remanded on suspicion of involvement in the murders.
According to Shin Bet findings, the two teens, 18-year-old Hakem Awwad and 19-year-old Amjad Awwad, carried out the crime based on their own convictions and without direction by any specific political or terrorist organization.
On the Friday of the murders, the two reportedly met at 3:00 p.m. and planned to carry out the murder. At 9:00 p.m. they met again, equipped with knives, and broke into the Itamar settlement. The two broke into one home, which was empty, and stole an M16 rifle. Afterward, they went to the Fogel family home.
The teenage suspects proceeded to murder two of the children by stabbing, and then entered the parents' bedroom. Udi and Ruti Fogel awoke to the murderers' presence, and began to struggle with them. In the end, the suspects gained control and murdered them as well.
The two then left the house. One of the suspects returned and murdered the three-month-old baby Hadas, taking an M16 from the house.
According to Israel Radio, Amjad said that he was unaware that there were two other children in the house, and that if he knew, he would have stabbed them as well.
Following the incident, the two suspects involved five others, mostly relatives, to help cover up their crime. Hakem's uncle, Saleh, reportedly hid the knives, burned their clothing from the night of the murders, and brought the stolen weapons to Ramallah resident Jad Obeid.
The two suspects, who are unrelated to one another, were identified as members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine along with several members of their family.
Shin Bet investigators have at this point not identified the murder as being carried out under the auspices of the Popular Front organization. According to what is currently known, the murders were carried out independently by the two suspects.
According to the investigation, it took the suspects about ten minutes to cut the fence which separates the settlement of Itamar from the Palestinian village of Awarta. They climbed the security barrier at the settlement unnoticed and walked about 400 meters into the settlement. Once inside the settlement, they broke into an empty home and stole an M-16 rifle, a weapons cartridge, a vest and a helmet before proceeding to the Fogel family's home.
So there were two fences between 'Awarta and Itamar; they cut one and climbed the second.
Before entering the house, the suspects noticed Yoav and Elad Fogel in the home's window. Yoav and Elad were the first to be stabbed after the suspect entered the home. The suspects then entered the parents' room. Ehud and Ruth tried to fight off the attackers, but were eventually overcome and stabbed to death. Ruth was also shot, but due to the weather at the time of the murder, the gunshots were not heard. The suspects fled the home, fearing that the gunshots had been heard.There have been many articles since the murders by anti-Israel writers saying that Jews had killed the Fogels, or foreign workers in the settlements (there were none,) or that the IDF was unfairly searching the village of 'Awarta without any evidence.
Outside of the home, the suspects realized that their gunshots had gone unnoticed and they had not yet been discovered. Amjad Awad subsequently reentered the home in order to steal an additional M-16 rifle that was there. Back inside the parents' room, Awad noticed three-month-old Hadas and stabbed her to death. While leaving the home once more, the suspect noticed that there were more children but apparently figured that he was running out of time. The lives of Roi Fogel, 8, and Yishai Fogel, 2, were spared.
None of them will retract their lies, of course.