Israeli soldier Sgt. Tomer Hazan, who was killed allegedly by a Palestinian co-worker on Friday, was buried Sunday at the military cemetery in Holon. Hudnreds of mourners attended the funeral, Shin Bet officials said.
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Investigators are seeking to clarify the circumstances that led Hazan to accede to a request by his co-worker and confessed killer, Nidal Amar, to go with him to the Palestinian’s West Bank village of Beit Amin. Amar admitted that he then killed Hazan near the West Bank town of Qalqilya. Hazan, whose served his army duty in an administrative post at Palmahim air force base, was discovered by security forces Saturday morning.
Amar is said to have told investigators that he murdered Hazan in an effort to exchange the soldier’s body for the release of his brother, who is serving a lengthy prison sentence in Israel on security-related offenses. The Shin Bet is also questioning Amar’s other brothers following their arrest in Beit Amin early Saturday morning.
Additional arrests in the case are expected, Shin Bet officials said.
Several mourners at Hazan’s funeral were highly critical of the management of the Bat Yam restaurant, Tzahi Besarim, where Hazan and Amar had worked together, saying that the Palestinian did not have an Israeli work permit and was employed at the restaurant illegally. Although the restaurant denied employing Palestinians in the country illegally, sources in the Shin Bet security service and Israel Police continued to maintain yesterday that Amar did not have a permit to be in Israel.
In the past, the West Bank suspect had sought permission to enter Israel on grounds of family reunification because he is married to a resident of the Israeli Arab town of Jaljulia, but his request was denied, security sources said.
Meanwhile, cabinet ministers and other politicians reacted to Hazan’s killing by saying it proves Palestinians have no intention of reaching a peace agreement with Israel.