Israel arrests suspects in settler killing: Shin Bet

Israel arrests suspects in settler killing: Shin Bet
File photo shows Israeli soldiers standing guard.

JERUSALEM - Israel has arrested three Palestinian suspects in the brutal murder of a Jewish settler in the West Bank, its domestic security service said Sunday.

"The Shin Bet, with the assistance of the army and the police, have arrested a number of those involved in the murder of Sarya Ofer," the agency said in a statement.

It was not yet know if Friday's murder was politically-motivated.

The Shin Bet said Odeh Farid Harub, 18, and Bashir Ahmed Harub, 21, had confessed to the killing of the retired army colonel at his isolated Jordan Valley home.

They were among three men from the southern West Bank village of Dir Samat, near Hebron, arrested on Saturday "following intelligence information."

The suspects allegedly told interrogators they had visited the compound that Ofer shared with his wife Monique late one night about two weeks ago but without doing anything.

The Shin Bet said their account matched a statement by Monique, who escaped with injuries after her husband was bludgeoned to death, saying youths from the Hebron area had came to the house "under suspicious circumstances."

The police said after the killing that it was most likely the work of Palestinian militants, while right-wing politicians said peace talks with the Palestinians should be suspended as a result.

But media have speculated it could have been the result of a bungled burglary attempt or the settling of a personal dispute.

"The investigation is under way and the motive for the murder is still being checked," the Shin Bet said.

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