x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Palestinian kills Israeli soldier to trade body for brother’s release

The killing deals a new blow to US-led peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians that resumed in July after a nearly five-year break.

JERUSALEM // A Palestinian lured an Israeli soldier to a village in the West Bank with the intention of killing him and trading the body for his jailed brother.

The Palestinian man was arrested on Saturday and confessed to the killing, the Shin Bet intelligence agency said.

The killing could deal a new blow to US-led Middle East peace efforts, which resumed in July after a nearly five-year break. The deaths of several Palestinians in Israeli arrest raids in the West Bank intended to detain militants involved in attacks have further soured the atmosphere between the two sides.

The soldier was reported missing on Friday and Israeli forces began looking for him.

The search led the troops to Nidal Amar, 42, a Palestinian from Beit Amin a village near the city of Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank.

Mr Amar confessed to killing the soldier, whom he knew because he worked with him at a restaurant in the coastal city of Bat Yam in central Israel, Shin Bet said.

According to Shin Bet, the Palestinian recounted how he had picked up the soldier in a taxi on Friday after convincing him to accept a ride.

After talking the soldier into joining him, Mr Amar took the Israeli to an open field, killed him and hid his body in a well, the agency said.

Israeli forces raided Mr Amar’s home on Saturday based on intelligence information, and interrogated Mr Amar and his brother.

Shin Bet said Mr Amar had confessed to intending to trade the soldier’s body for another brother, in an Israeli jail since 2003 for his role in several terror attacks.

Mr Amar showed the Israeli forces where the body was hidden on Saturday afternoon after his arrest.

It is not the first case of Palestinians abducting Israeli soldiers, sometimes killing them afterward. The military has a long-standing campaign warning soldiers not to accept rides from strangers.

It’s still unknown how Mr Amar convinced the soldier to join him on the ride.

In 2001 a Palestinian woman lured an Israeli teenage boy over the internet to the West Bank where he was killed by waiting Palestinian militants.

The woman, Amna Muna, was released along with more than 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a single Israeli soldier held captive in Gaza by Hamas-allied militants in 2011.

* Associated Press