Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday visited the scene of a suspected West Bank terror attack in which a yeshiva student was killed, vowing Israel would track down whoever was behind the deadly stabbing.
“We lost Dvir here, a precious member of the Sorek family that also lost its grandfather years ago. Our hearts are with them and we are embracing them at their difficult moment,” said Netanyahu, who is also defense minister.
The body of Dvir Sorek, who was in a program combining religious study and military service, was found near Migdal Oz early Thursday with stab wounds. The 19-year-old was last seen on Wednesday traveling to Jerusalem to buy a gift for one of his teachers.
While reports initially suggested Sorek may have been killed during a kidnapping attempt, defense officials investigating the murder subsequently assessed that there was no effort to kidnap him before he was stabbed to death.
Instead, investigators believe that the terrorists noticed Sorek on the road leading to Migdal Oz, murdered him and dumped his body on the side of the road.
“We can see here the U-turn made by the car after the murder,” Netanyahu said at the scene.
“Our answer to the murderers is twofold: They come to destroy and we are building. Our hand will reach them and we will settle our score with them. The investigation is going forward and is as its height,” he added, echoing comments he had made earlier in the day at the Beit El settlement.
Also touring near the site of the attack was Blue and White party head Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s main political rival ahead of the elections in September.
“The IDF and security forces will pursue [the perpetrators] and get them — dead or alive,” Gantz said.
“Not far from here… three youths were kidnapped and murdered five years ago,” added the Blue and White leader, who was IDF chief during that incident, which set off a chain of events that led to the 2014 Gaza war.
Gantz, whose centrist opposition party is considered more dovish than Netanyahu’s Likud, echoed the prime minister in vowing Israel would continue to build in the main settlement blocs.
“We’ll do this here in the Etzion bloc and any other strategic area that seems appropriate,” he said.
No Palestinian terror group has claimed credit for the attack, but both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have praised Sorek’s murder.
Authorities have launched a wide-scale manhunt for the attackers and the army sent further troops to the West Bank.
Sorek’s funeral is scheduled for 8 p.m. in the settlement of Ofra, his hometown.