Colonel (Res.) Seraiah Ofer was killed in an attack outside his home in the Jordan Valley settlement of Brosh Habika at 10 P.M. Thursday night. His wife Monique was moderately wounded, but managed to escape and contact police.
Israeli security forces detained five suspects in connection with the murder.
Monique Ofer said the couple heard strange noises from outside their West Bank home. Upon leaving the house to investigate, they were attacked by Palestinians wielding iron rods and an ax.
After escaping through a breach in the fence surrounding the property, the woman collapsed by a highway, and then called a friend, who contacted the police. The Israeli army, Police and Magen David Adom scrambled to the scene and pronounced the man, in his fifties, dead. The woman was evacuated to Haemek Medical Center in Afula. She is scheduled to undergo surgery.
Preliminary investigation indicates the crime was a terror attack, but security forces have not confirmed whether or not the attack was politically-motivated or crime-related. The Israel Defense Forces set up roadblocks and are conducting a sweep of the area in an attempt to find the attackers. The portion of Highway 90 that runs through the Jordan Valley has been closed to traffic.
The victim is the nephew of Yuli and Sami Ofer. His father, David, was commander of the Israel Police Tel Aviv District, and his brother, Yitzhak, was a pilot in the Israel Air Force who was killed in the Yom Kippur War. Seraiah Ofer himself was commander of the IDF Shaked unit, and was one of the founders of the air force's special unit, Shaldag. He took part in the evacuation of Yamit in 1982. He went on to become deputy commander of the Givati Brigade.
He was discharged as a colonel and went into an unsuccessful business career incurring a debt of millions. In the 90s he founded a resort in the Jordan Valley but this venture was unsuccessful. Over the last decade he got into legal trouble, culminating in a conviction on obstruction of justice charges in 2008. Most of the conviction was overturned in 2011. The only charge remaining was one of failure to file an official report.
Thursday's incident was the third time an Israeli was killed in the West Bank this past month.
Last Saturday, a young girl was shot while playing outside her home in the West Bank settlement of Psagot. Noam Glick, 9, sustained mild injuries. Two Palestinian brothers in their twenties were arrested by the IDF on Monday in connection with the attack.
Some three weeks ago, IDF Staff Sergeant Gal (Gabriel) Kobi, 20, of Tirat Hacarmel, was killed while manning his post near the entrance to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Clashes erupted in the area and a bullet fired from a distance, apparently by a sniper, hit Kobi in his upper body.
The IDF says it still has no leads as to the perpetrator's identity.
The Hebron shooting occurred only a day after 20-year-old IDF soldier Tomer Hazan was found murdered in the West Bank city of Qalqilyah. Nidal Amar, a Palestinian resident of West Bank village of Beit Amin, was arrested in connection with the killing and confessed.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now