Two of the three men arrested by the Shin Bet security agency and the Israel Defense Forces as suspects in the brutal murder of retired IDF officer Sraya Ofer at his home in the Jordan Valley last week have confessed to the crime. Eighteen-year-old Farid Talab Harub and 21-year-old Basher Ahmed Harub are Palestinian residents of the Dir Samat village in the Hebron region. The name of the third suspect has not yet been released and the motive of the crime, whether nationalist or criminal, is still unclear.
Ofer was beaten to death with an axe and crow bars at his home in the Jewish resort village of Brosh Habika, situated in the northern Jordan Valley. His wife, Monique, was lightly injured while fleeing the attack, but managed to escape to the main road and call for help.
The hunt for the culprits began immediately following the report of the incident. Lt. Col. Yoav Bronner, commander of the Paratroopers Brigade 890th Battalion said Sunday that his soldiers were first to arrive at the scene only minutes after receiving the report. After combing the house, footprints left behind by two murderers were found leading eight kilometers (five miles) south of the home to Road 90, where they seem to have boarded a vehicle and fled. According to Bronner, the axe used to commit the murder, blood-soaked gloves and other equipment were found along the path to the main road. Forensic testing revealed the items were used by the murderers.
The pair who confessed to the murder told the Shin Bet security agency they had also been to Ofer's house late at night two weeks prior to the crime. This information was corroborated by Ofer's wife.
Ofer's funeral was held Sunday at the Kfar Vitkin cemetery in the Sharon region. Hundreds came to pay their respects and to comfort the victim's wife, who was brought to the grave site in a stretcher. She eulogized her late husband with tears in her eyes.
"I was supposed to see Dad on Wednesday, and I thought there was still a long while before we would meet," said the victim's daughter. "We were proud of you. We love you and already miss you so much."
Among the hundreds of attendees were IDF officers and many policemen, as well as Housing Minister Uri Ariel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his condolences to the Ofer family Sunday: "I remember him as a child. He was a classmate of my brother Ido. He used to visit our home frequently. A mature boy, serious, who went on to give so much to the security of Israel during his service in the IDF." Netanyahu added that, thanks to the IDF's work, "this is the quietest year in more than a decade, despite the terror activity we have seen in the last several weeks."