Outgoing Samaria Brigade Commander Colonel Nimrod Aloni said Thursday that he considers the massacre in Itamar
as his own fault. "I failed in Itamar, and my failure led to the brutal murder of the Fogel family," he said.
Speaking at ceremony to welcome incoming commander Col. Yoav Yarom, Aloni said: "There are no words to describe the sadness and frustration I felt following the attack."
Aloni described the aftermath of the massacre, saying: "We staged an unprecedented operation. We left no stone unturned in the village of Awarta. It was clear to me that the soldiers didn’t need a motivational talk before the operation."
Scene of murder at Fogel family home (archives)
The outgoing commander described his role during the past two years, saying that "being the Samaria Brigade commander means never going to sleep before the hostile terrorist activity is over.
"It means conducting operational activity in Awarta one day, and celebrating at a wedding in Joseph's Tomb the next day," he noted.
In response to the statements, Chaim Fogel, Udi Fogel's father, said the family has no claims against Aloni. "He's an excellent commander with a bright future," Fogel said. "A commander who takes responsibility is welcome as far as we're concerned. Sadly, the massacre happened on his watch, but not only do we have nothing against him, on the contrary, we support and respect him."
In March 2011, five members of the Fogel family were murdered in a terrorist attack in the settlement of Itamar.
The two terrorists convicted of the murders were tried at the Samaria Military Court and sentenced to five life sentences
Col. Yarom served as an officer in Sayeret Golani. He lost his foot after stepping on a landmine during an operation in Lebanon. However, Yarom returned to active duty after his injury. During the Second Intifada, Yarom was injured again, this time after being shot in the abdomen. He managed to overcome this injury as well, and returned to Golani where he served as the commander of Egoz Unit and commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion during the Second Lebanon War.