Ten days after their son Gal Gabriel Kobi was killed by a Palestinian sniper in Hebron, the Kobi family ended their traditional period of mourning on Thursday — with the IDF yet to arrest a suspect in the case.
The 20-year-old soldier was killed while on duty during the Jewish festival of Sukkot. He was shot in the neck at his post outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs and pronounced dead shortly after.
Because he died during the Jewish holiday, the traditional week of mourning only started last Friday.
“Catch the murderer who killed Gal,” family members implored Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who visited them at their home earlier in the week. Ya’alon promised them Israel would “lay its hands on the murderer.”
President Shimon Peres also paid his respects to the family and told them Gal was shot while serving in one of “the most sensitive places.” The soldiers in Hebron “are the shield of this country,” he added. “In the eyes of the nation, he was a true hero.”
Nearly two weeks after Kobi’s death, however, the shooter remains at large. According to the Maariv daily, the IDF and Shin Bet security service believe the gunman acted on his own — and have no real leads in the case. Among the indicators supporting this theory is the fact that no organization has claimed responsibility for the attack. The fact that the killer likely acted alone has made it harder to gather intelligence and crack the case, unnamed sources told the paper.
The initial investigation indicates Kobi was shot with a single, standard caliber bullet — either 5.56 or 7.62 millimeters — but the round itself wasn’t found at the site of the shooting. Investigators also believe the soldier was shot from a range of no more than 200 meters. Since no shot was heard by the soldiers nearby, the sniper may have used a muffler on his weapon.
In a statement to Maariv, the IDF said it was “continuing in its operational and intelligence efforts to locate the perpetrator of the attack.” The army also noted it had ruled out the possibility that Kobi was killed by a stray bullet accidentally fired by another soldier.