The five members of the Israeli family murdered at Itamar on the West Bank, Friday night, March 11, have been identified as Udi Vogel, 38, the father; his wife Ruth Vogel, 35, their sons Yoav, 11 and Elad, 3 and their four-month old daughter Hadas. The three children who survived are Roi, 8, Yishai, 2 and their sister Tamar, aged 12, who found the victims when she arrived home later that night.
The family moved to Itamar after Jewish communities were forcibly evicted from the Gaza Strip in 2007 as part of the Sharon government's disengagement plan.
The terrorists had broken through the fence guarding the sleeping settlement and entered the Vogel home through an open window without raising an alarm.
Military and police units fanned out to hunt the perpetrators and set up checkpoints. Hamas websites hailed the murder as a "heroic operation," without taking responsibility.
This attack is the first of its kind in years. Hamas Websites hailed the murder as "heroic," without taking responsibility.
debkafile's counter-terror sources report: There were no terror alerts prior to the attack although Hamas networks had been known to be regrouping in Judea and Samaria for the purpose of attacking and kidnapping Israelis on both sides of the Green Line. Several Palestinians were recently detained at the few remaining West Bank checkposts carrying pipe bombs, knives and fire bombs. Nonetheless the military did not recommend putting any of the checkposts back even though the Palestinian Authority's security services had slowed down their counter-terror cooperation with Israel, therefore failing to keep their side of the bargain for the removal of the checkposts.
For more than a year, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak acceded to relentless US and European pressure to grant West Bank Palestinians almost unrestricted freedom of movement and generous aid for their economic development as a means of persuading PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table. This policy failed in its purpose while leaving Israelis vulnerable once again to terrorist attacks.
Israel's government military policy makers have refrained from redeploying the Israeli military to compensate for declining the Palestinian Authority's counter terror activity, which has been a concomitant of the rising unrest in the Arab world, especially in Egypt. Israeli queries on this to the Americans and British officers running the Palestinian security services have gone unanswered.
Because Palestinian traffic between Nablus in the north and Hebron in the south is to all intents and purposes unmonitored, the Israeli military is forced to fall back on intelligence informants as its only tool for preventing terrorist attacks. The result was seen tragically in Itamar Saturday morning.