How security forces nabbed Dvir Sorek’s suspected killers in less than 48 hours

Concerned Nasir and Qasseem Asafra would seek to strike again, joint task force of Shin Bet, IDF and Border Police worked quickly and ended up surprising them in their beds

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

In a picture released by the Israel Defense Forces on August 10, 2019, Israel soldiers search in the West Bank for the terrorists who killed yeshiva student Dvir Sorek. (Israel Defense Forces)
In a picture released by the Israel Defense Forces on August 10, 2019, Israel soldiers search in the West Bank for the terrorists who killed yeshiva student Dvir Sorek. (Israel Defense Forces)

Less than 48 hours after the body of 18-year-old Dvir Sorek was found on the side of the road near the West Bank settlement of Migdal Oz early Thursday, Israeli security forces apprehended the two suspects in the murder.

In a report Sunday, Channel 12 news detailed how a joint Shin Bet, Border Police and Israel Defense Forces operation nabbed Nasir and Qasseem Asafra off-guard and in their beds Saturday morning.

Immediately upon the discovery of Sorek’s body, which was riddled with stab wounds, Israeli forces established a makeshift war room through which all information gathered by the various units involved was funneled.

IDF trackers arrived at the scene outside Migdal Oz to determine the type of vehicle the terrorists used, the number of assailants involved and signs of a possible struggle between the victim and his killers.

Dvir Sorek, 18, a yeshiva student and off-duty IDF soldier who was found stabbed to death outside a West Bank settlement on August 8, 2019. (Courtesy)

Intelligence analysts from the Shin Bet and the IDF’s 8200 Unit studied the CCTV footage collected from roadside cameras at and around the scene, leading them to a theory regarding the type of vehicle used as well as the escape route taken by the assailants after the attack.

Subsequently, ground forces from the Givati brigade as well as the Egoz and Duvdevan reconnaissance units were dispatched to the Hebron area with the initial conclusion that the suspects had fled south.

Within 24 hours, security forces zeroed in on the village of Beit Kahil, where they believed the suspects were hiding.

The identities of the attackers were known by Friday evening.

Shortly thereafter, security forces succeeded in locating the two homes in Beit Kahil where the suspects were hiding, as well as the relatives who allegedly provided them assistance — Nasir’s brother Akrama and Qassem’s wife, Ines.

One of the suspects in the murder of Dvir Sorek after being arrested by the Border Police and IDF in the West Bank on August 10, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

On Saturday morning at 3 a.m., the soldiers made their move, raiding the homes and nabbing the two suspects along with the relatives who allegedly helped them hide, without any resistance.

A vehicle belonging to one of the suspects was also confiscated in the raid. The army said that the car was “presumably” used in the attack.

The IDF said that some 100 residents of Beit Kahil hurled stones at troops while they were carrying out the arrest raid. Soldiers responded with riot dispersal meant to scatter them. No injuries were reported.

Sorek was studying at a yeshiva as part of a program combining Torah study and military service. He was last seen leaving Migdal Oz for Jerusalem on Wednesday to buy books for his teachers.

Also on Sunday, Border Police released the helmet cam footage of one of the officers involved in the manhunt.

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