An Israeli soldier was found dead outside a settlement in the southern occupied West Bank early this morning, reported the Times of Israel.
According to Israeli occupation authorities, the soldier – named as Dvir Sorek – was killed by one or more Palestinians in what was potentially an aborted abduction attempt.
Sorek was a resident of Ofra settlement, and studied in Migdal Oz settlement, north of Hebron. He was reported missing overnight, and his body was discovered close to Migdal Oz this morning.
Israeli occupation forces immediately launched a widescale search in the area, throwing up roadblocks and raiding Palestinian communities.
According to reports, Sorek was combining military service and religious studies.
No Palestinian faction has claimed responsibility, but both Hamas and Islamic Jihad released statements describing the killing of the soldier as a natural response to the crimes committed by the occupation.
Israeli media reported that the soldier was the grandson of a settler killed during the Second Intifada. An Israeli court also issued – at the request of the police – a gag order on all details of the investigation into the attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said occupation forces were "in pursuit now in order to capture the despicable terrorist and bring him to justice", while Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) leader Benny Gantz said Israeli forces "know how to put their hands on vile terrorists, dead or alive".
Meanwhile, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) declared that Israel's "response" to the killing must be to "apply sovereignty on [annex] the settlements, starting with [those in] Gush Etzion". Senior settler leader Israel Ganz also urged Netanyahu to annex occupied West Bank land.