Israeli soldier killed by Palestinian former co-worker

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli soldier who visited the West Bank with a former Palestinian co-worker from a central Israel restaurant was murdered by the Palestinian man.

Tomer Hazan, 20, a sergeant in Israel Air Force, was murdered on Friday. His body was discovered on Saturday after his family alerted officials that he had not been in touch with them since Friday morning.

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Nadal Amar, 42, was arrested Saturday by Israeli security services and confessed to killing Hazan near his home town of Kalkilya and hiding the body in a well.

Amar told Israel Security Agency agents that he planned to exchange Hazan’s body for the release of his brother, Nur Al Din Amar, a Tanzim Fatah operative imprisoned since 2003 for his involvement in several terror attacks, according to the Israel Defense Forces spokesman’s office.

Amar had been working in Israel illegally, according to the IDF, and had been turned down for a request to enter Israel under the family reunification law.

The owner of the Tzachi Meats restaurant where Amar had been employed told Israeli media that he believed that Amar had legal work documents. He closed his restaurant for a week in solidarity with the family, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“The murder of the soldier Tomer Hazan is a terrible reminder that every day Israel is dealing with murderous, animal-like terrorists,” Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid Party, wrote on his Facebook page. “We should not abandon the security of Israel to anyone except ourselves.”

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry condemned the “shocking murder,” and called for calm on both sides “at this critical moment in the political process.”