Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that 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, would be demolished in the near future.
The Israel Defense Forces earlier in the day said its troops overnight Sunday 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.
“We have mapped the terrorists’ homes and we will soon demolish them,” Netanyahu said at an award ceremony for outstanding members of the Shin Bet at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.
Also during his speech, Netanyahu praised the Shin Bet for helping to capture Sorek’s suspected murderers.
“Immediately when the details were published I said with great confidence that it wouldn’t take long until we lay our hands on the murderer,” he said. “That is what you have done over recent years — all the murderers, without exception, were caught. In every case of cruel terrorists taking the lives of innocent Israelis, it didn’t take long until we reached them.
“You reached Dvir’s murderer within 48 hours,” he concluded. “You operate night and day for the safety of our citizens. Last year you thwarted more than 600 terror attacks. That is prevention and preemption on a massive scale.”
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.
The terrorists fled the scene following the attack, leading security forces on a 48-hour manhunt before suspects 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.”
“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.