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IDF: Israeli soldier killed, body stashed in well in bargaining ploy

By Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN
September 23, 2013 -- Updated 0812 GMT (1612 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A Palestinian lured and killed an Israeli soldier he knew, Israel says
  • The killing was allegedly part of a plot to gain the release of a Palestinian prisoner
  • The soldier's body was dumped in a well
  • The Israel Defense Forces says the investigation is ongoing

(CNN) -- A young Israeli soldier was killed as part of a macabre bargaining ploy, the Israeli military said Sunday.

The Palestinian who killed him knew the soldier, and wanted to use the body to secure the release of the Palestinian's brother, who is in prison for involvement in terror attacks, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Sgt. Tomer Hazan, 20, went missing Friday. Concerned, his family phoned police.

Soon, Israeli authorities brought in Nadal Amer, a 42-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank village of Beit Amin, for questioning, the IDF said.

The two men had once worked at the same restaurant.

"Amer confessed to leading the soldier to an open area, where he murdered the soldier and concealed his body in a water well," the IDF said in a statement.

Amer said he wanted to trade Hazan's body for his brother's freedom, the statement said.

In 2003, Amer's brother began serving a lengthy prison sentence for "involvement in several terror attacks."

Amer led Israeli troops to the body north of the village of Siniria, according to the IDF.

"Additional detentions of individuals suspected for involvement in the incident are anticipated," the IDF said.

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that the prime minister spoke to Hazan's family, saying, "This crime proves that the fight against terror never stops."

"This is a horrific terrorist attack carried out by one murderer trying to free another," IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement. "The IDF will continue to battle the agents of evil wherever they are, to safeguard the Israeli way of life."

But the Israeli paper Ma'ariv quoted Amer's mother as saying, "I still don't believe he did it. He was a good kid who got mixed up in stupid things."

Ma'ariv also published a statement from the head of Beit Amin, Taki Omar, emphasizing his community's ties with its Jewish neighbors and condemning the killing.

"The village must not be given a bad name because of one crazy person," Omar said.

In a separate incident, an Israeli soldier died after he was hit by hostile gunfire in Hebron, the IDF said Sunday. The soldier was participating in "routine activities defending the Jewish Neighborhood of Hebron and approximately 11,000 civilians visiting the area during the holiday of Sukkot" when he was hit, the IDF said.

The wounded soldier later died at a hospital in Israel. The IDF launched a search for the attackers and movement in the vicinity of the shooting was restricted, the IDF said.

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