IDF prepares to demolish homes of Dvir Sorek’s suspected killers

Troops measure structures in southern West Bank village of Beit Kahil as first step before their destruction

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

The Israel Defense Forces overnight Sunday began preparations to demolish the homes of two Palestinian men suspected of stabbing to death 18-year-old Israeli Dvir Sorek last week near the West Bank settlement of Migdal Oz.

The military said its troops measured the homes in the Palestinian village of Beit Kahil in the southern West Bank so that engineers can plan the best ways to demolish the structures.

No date has yet been set for the demolition.

Sorek’s body was found early Thursday morning on a road leading to the religious seminary where he was studying in Migdal Oz as part of a program combining military service with Jewish study known as hesder.

Israeli troops measure the home of two suspected terrorists accused of killing Dvir Sorek for demolition in the southern West Bank on August 12, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

The suspected terrorists fled the scene following the attack, leading security forces on a 48-hour manhunt before they were arrested in Beit Kahil at approximately 3 a.m. Saturday.

Security forces identified the two suspects as Nasir Asafra, 24, and Qassem Asafra, 30. While the Israel Defense Forces said that the former suspect is a Hamas member, neither of them had any prior arrests.

Nasir’s brother Akrama and Qassem’s wife, Ines, were also arrested in the raid. A Shin Bet spokesman said security forces were looking into whether the two had helped the alleged killers hide after the attack.

A vehicle belonging to one of the suspects was also confiscated in the joint Shin Bet-Border Police-IDF raid. The army said that the car was “presumably” used in the attack.

Sorek’s father, Yoav, thanked Israeli security forces on Saturday night for their quick work in catching the suspected killers, but said in a statement he was “disappointed they were captured alive.”

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)

“We are glad that Dvir, may God avenge his blood, didn’t see the faces of his killers, and we will try not to see them either, not now and not in court,” Yoav Sorek said, using a traditional honorific for Jews who have been murdered.

He added that Israeli security forces should work to prevent and thwart future terror attacks.

Israel says the practice of demolishing terrorists’ homes is an effective means of discouraging future attacks, though it has been criticized by human rights groups as a form of collective punishment and by some analysts as an ineffective deterrent measure.

Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

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