Report: Breakthrough in Itamar murders probe

April 17, 2011

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) – Israeli authorities are expected to lift a gag order Sunday on details of the investigation into the killing of five Israelis in Itamar settlement in March, the Israeli press reported.

Israeli army chief of staff Benny Gantz met Friday with members of the Fogel family who survived the attack and updated them on the ongoing investigation, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

According to the report, there has been a major breakthrough in the investigation.

Israeli authorities have not published any official reports on the case, details of which have been under an Israeli government gag order.

Since the March 11 killings, in which five members of the Fogel family were stabbed to death, the Israeli army has carried out a massive detention campaign in Awarta village, near Itamar settlement.

Elderly men and women, pregnant women and children have been among hundreds detained and held without charge.

Awarta’s mayor, Qais Awwad, said the army had “launched a security, economic and political siege on the village; they destroyed life in the village.”

The army prevented Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad from entering the village, although it is situated in “Area B” of the West Bank and theoretically administered by a joint Israeli-Palestinian security regime.

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