(JTA) — Israeli police arrested five Palestinians believed to be connected to the slaying an Israeli army colonel outside his Jordan Valley home.
The man, reserve colonel Sariya Ofer, was bludgeoned to death Thursday night by two Palestinian men who waited outside his home in Shadmot Mehola, a West Bank settlement. The men wielded an axe and metal rod, Army Radio reported.
The five suspects in custody were arrestd Friday, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Uri Ariel, Israel’s housing minister, told Army Radio Friday that the killing was a terrorist attack and added that he had issued instructions to “increase settlement” in Shadmot Mehola in response to the attack. But police said they have not yet determined whether the attack was an act of terrorism.
Ofer, who was in his fifties, was among the founders of the Israel Air Force’s Shaldag, a special missions commando unit, and a former commander of the Shaked commando unit. Police said they did not know whether the man was targeted because of his military record.
His girlfriend, Monique Omer, also in her fifties, escaped the house when she heard the struggle. A passerby found her lying by the side of a road with injuries she had sustained during her flight, according to the report.