Israeli soldiers continued their hunt for the killer of Sgt. Gal Gabriel Kobi, 20, from Tirat HaCarmel, who died Sunday night after being shot in the neck by an Arab sniper, at an IDF checkpoint near Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs.
The IDF, having focused its efforts on the Jabal Johar neighborhood of the city in tracking down Kobi’s killer, had earlier Monday lifted a curfew instituted following the soldier’s murder, Army Radio reported.
The IDF also announced it intends to bolster troops in the city, fearing violence might ensue during events scheduled for the Sukkot holiday there. Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot reported that tens of thousands of Israelis are expected to visit Hebron’s Jewish quarter to celebrate the festival on Monday.
Following an emergency meeting Monday with his security cabinet, Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon issued a stern warning to those responsible for Kobi’s death.
“The IDF and security forces will lay their hands on the terrorist and those who sent him,” the defense minister said.
Despite Sunday’s incident and another Friday that left Sgt. Tomer Hazan, 20, dead when he was kidnapped and killed by an Arab acquaintance, Israeli army officials rejected the idea that the violence was anything more than two isolated incidents.
“The attacks over the past few days don’t indicate an escalation in Judea and Samaria,” IDF Spokersperson Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai told Army Radio on Monday morning. “Our assessment is unchanged. What we’re seeing are isolated events. The case of Tomer [Hazan], blessed be his memory, and also the case of Gal [Kobi], blessed be his memory, are isolated incidents, and we don’t see a change in this trend.”