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Israeli soldier killed by Palestinian former co-worker

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli soldier who visited the West Bank with a former Palestinian co-worker was murdered by the Palestinian man.

The body of Tomer Hazan, 20, a sergeant in the Israeli Air Force, was  discovered on Saturday after his family alerted officials that he had not been in touch with them since Friday morning.

Nadal Amar, 42, was arrested Saturday by Israeli security services and confessed to killing Hazan near Amar’s West Bank hometown of Kalkilya and hiding the body in a well.

Amar told Israel Security Agency agents that he planned to exchange Hazan’s body for the release of his brother, Nur Al Din Amar, a Fatah operative imprisoned since 2003 for his involvement in several terror attacks, according to the Israel Defense Forces spokesman’s office.

“The criminal incident proves once again that the fight against terrorism is constant,” Army Radio quoted  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying.

Hazan and Amar, who had worked together at Tzachi Meats in central Israel, reportedly got into a taxi together and traveled to an Israeli community near Kalkilya.

Amar had been working in Israel illegally, according to the IDF, and had been turned down for a request to enter Israel under the family reunification law.

The owner of Tzachi Meats told the Israeli media that he believed Amar had legal work documents. He closed his Bat Yam restaurant for a week in solidarity with the family, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The United Nations’ special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, condemned the “shocking murder” and called for calm on both sides “at this critical moment in the political process.”

Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, wrote on his Facebook page that the murder “is a terrible reminder that every day Israel is dealing with murderous, animal-like terrorists. We should not abandon the security of Israel to anyone except ourselves.”

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