Policeman's murder solved. The Shin Bet has arrested a Hamas
cell believed to be behind the shooting attack in which Yehoshua Sofer
was killed in June, it was cleared for publication on Monday.
Two other policemen were injured in the attack when terrorists fired at their patrol car driving near the settlement of Beit Hagai, south of Hebron.
One of the cell's heads said in his interrogation that just two weeks before he embarked on the attack, his six-year-old daughter was hospitalized in Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, where she had a tumor removed from her eye. The operation was funded by an Israeli organization.
The attack took place on June 14. Terrorists opened fire at a police vehicle containing four officers on their way from Beersheba to Jerusalem. Sofer was critically wounded and died of his injuries hours later in hospital.
The terrorists were arrested eight days later, in the village of Deir Samet, in the Lachish region. Some of the suspects had been detained in Israel in the past.
The investigation revealed that three of the cell's members were driving in one car and settled at the site of the shooting, while another operative was in another vehicle and served as a lookout. His job was to alert the others in the event that military forces approach the scene.
When the patrol car reached the ambush point, near the village of Deir Razah, north of Otniel, the three cell members opened fire at it.
Scene of the attack (Photo: Noam Moscowitz)
The assailants then fled the scene, torched the vehicle they used to carry out the attack, and hid their weapons. Another operative, who was aware of the plans to carry out an attack, helped the cell's members hide their weapons.
During their interrogation the cell's members reenacted the attack, and turned in the three Kalashnikov rifles used in the shooting. The investigation also revealed that the cell planned to carry out additional attacks, including the kidnapping of a soldier or civilian in the Gush Etzion region.
To that end the cell's members carried out reconnaissance in the area, and even purchased skullcaps and wigs to be used in the attack.
Sofer was killed three months before his wedding. At his funeral, Sofer's fiancée Einav Blum
said, "Nothing I can say can express what my heart is feeling. I want to say, darling, all the guests that were invited to the wedding have come to accompany you on your final path.
"My heart is exploding darling, you don't know, it cannot contain this much pain. Who will tell me he loves me more than he loves himself? In case I didn't say it enough – I love you and I always will."