A young Israeli soldier reported missing overnight has been found dead in the West Bank. Security forces said the body had several stab wounds.
An Israeli soldier was found dead near a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank on Thursday. His body had multiple stab wounds, the army said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the killing as a terrorist attack. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The soldier was identified as 19-year-old Dvir Sorek from the West Bank settlement of Ofra.
His remains were found near a Jewish military seminary where he studied north of the Palestinian city of Hebron below Jerusalem. The school combines religious studies with service in the armed forces.
The soldier appeared to have been abducted before he was killed and his body left by the side of a road, according to Israeli media.
“Today in the early morning hours, a soldier’s body was found with stabbing marks on it adjacent to a (Jewish) community north of Hebron,” an English-language army statement said. He was neither armed nor in uniform at the time of his death.
The military’s statement did not give further details nor accuse any one in the stabbing. Sorek had been at the beginning of his military service.
Who is behind the attack?
Local media speculates it was a Palestinian attack and that security forces may be looking for more than one suspect.
Rabbi Shlomo Wilk, head of the yeshiva where Sorek studied, told Israel Radio that Sorek had gone to Jerusalem to buy gifts for the school’s faculty.
According to the Rabbi, the young soldier had called a friend and said he would return on time.
“When he was late, we started to worry,” Wilk said. “Fairly quickly we understood that something wasn’t right and we got the police involved.”
Netanyahu said security forces were “in pursuit now in order to capture the despicable terrorist and bring him to account.”
President Reuven Rivlin said Israel’s “prayers this morning are with the family of the murdered soldier and our hearts grieve for the life cut short …We fight terrorism without compromise to ensure the security of our people.”
He added that Israeli security forces are pursuing the attackers and will “fight terrorism without compromise”.
The 19-year-old soldier’s family had reported him missing overnight.
Israeli troops have entered the nearby Palestinian village of Beit Fajar as part of their search.
Hebron and surrounding Israeli settlements have often witnessed Israeli-Palestinian fighting.
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