Commander of elite border police unit describes capture of Israeli youth Dvir Sorek’s killers

The commander of the counter terrorism unit that caught the suspected killers of Dvir Sorek describes the operation.

By Benjamin Kerstein, The Algemeiner

Shortly after the weekend arrest of the terrorists responsible for last week’s killing of yeshiva student Dvir Sorek in Judea and Samaria, the commander of the squad that detained the killers described what happened in interviews with Israeli media.

Second Lieutenant S. of Israel’s Counter Terrorism Unit (ICTU), an elite unit of the Border Police, said he knew as soon as the news of Sorek’s murder came in that he and his unit would be sent into action.

“The picture of Dvir never leaves my mind,” S. told Hebrew news website Mako. “From the minute the body was found, I read about him, I studied him, and I wanted to know him.”

Referring to acclaimed Israeli author David Grossman, one of whose books was found on Sorek’s body and who later eulogized the young man, S. said, “I also saw what the writer David Grossman said about him after it became clear that Dvir held his latest book while he was murdered. He was just an amazing boy. He went to buy books for his teachers. The things [Grossman] said got into my heart.”

Speaking of Sorek’s killers, S. added, “When I understood the details of the incident, I knew how much they exploited the fact that he was alone, an innocent and helpless boy, when they attacked him by surprise, putting their scheme into action and fleeing.”

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“We were on an exercise,” S. said of his unit. “But this incident happened quickly. We reached our sector and waited for the exact intelligence on the terrorists. The news came around 3:00 a.m. The identity of the perpetrators was known to us by then.”

As the unit closed in on the two terrorists, it was forced to split up, as they were found to be in different buildings. S.’s group received information that the terrorist was sleeping on a building’s roof with another man.

“It’s relatively common during the summer for the Palestinians to sleep on rooftops because it’s hot in the house,” S. explained. “Immediately, we changed the plan.”

“We quietly broke through the entrance and went up the stairs,” S. recounted. “We came to the entrance of the roof. We sent in a dog, and immediately found them sleeping. They opened their eyes and in front of them they saw me and other soldiers with dogs. They were in a total shock, with fear in their eyes. They didn’t believe we would catch them.”

The second unit discovered that their target was not in the building as expected, and were forced to move to another, where the terrorist’s family members tried to block the soldiers from entering.

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“A physical confrontation developed,” said S. “The force got in and saw the other terrorist in front of them. Bingo.”

S. said that a sense of mission motivates the ICTU soldiers, and added, “Even after 20 years, the adrenaline still exists. Because you don’t know what to expect. I can say that every time I looked the killers in the eyes, they were afraid. Every time, they can’t believe we’ve gotten to them. We try not to leave accounts unsettled.”

Sorek, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Ofra, was stabbed to death on Wednesday night while walking along a road near the settlement of Migdal Oz. His killers escaped in a vehicle and were arrested in the village of Beit Kahil on Saturday following an extensive manhunt.