Reproduction photo: Haim Tzach
Sasson Nuriel
Reproduction photo: Haim Tzach
Photo: Haim Tzach
The family home in Pisgat Ze'ev
Photo: Haim Tzach
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Police escort ambulance transferring body to forensic institute
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Hamas murders Israeli man

Body of Jerusalem-area man missing since Wednesday found near West Bank town of Ramallah

A Jerusalem-area resident was abducted and murdered by Hamas terrorists from the Ramallah region. The body of Sasson Nuriel, 55, from Pisgat Ze’ev, was found after security forces conducted an extensive search since he went missing.


The story was only cleared for publication Monday afternoon.


Security officials said the investigation revealed Nuriel was abducted Wednesday by Hamas members in Ramallah. In a joint operation by the Shin Bet and the IDF, forces detained Sunday a member of the terror cell.


Following the arrest, security forces were able to locate Nuriel’s body in an industrial zone in the town of Bitunia, southwest of Ramallah.


The detained terrorist told interrogators about the abduction and informed them of the location where Nuriel was supposed to be kept. When troops arrived at the apartment, they found objects belonging to the terror cell but no evidence that Nuriel was kept there.


PA: Murder criminally motivated


The Jerusalem man, a married father of three, owned a candy-selling business and worked with Arab residents of the area. Palestinians told Ynet Israeli police and troops, as well as plainclothes security officials, were seen leading a man to the area were the body was found.


According to the sources, the man was handcuffed and pointed at the area where the body was buried. Meanwhile, Palestinian security officials said their investigation showed the murder was likely criminally motivated.


Nuriel’s wife, Ronit, arrived at a Jerusalem police station last Wednesday to report her husband was missing since the morning hours. Officials launched an investigation into the affair and initiated a search for the missing man.


On Thursday, police officials asked the Jerusalem District Court to issue a publication ban to ensure the investigation is not undermined.


'Maybe irresponsible to hang out with Palestinians'


After the body was discovered, Udi Wertheimer, one of the factory owners, told Ynet, "Sassi knew the Arab community very well."


"He used to walk around Arab towns like he lived there. He even looked like one of them. It could easily have passed for a Hebronite," he said. "He had excellent business relations with the Palestinians, he knew how to get things, he would walk around the villages buying and selling. He was a real workhorse, worked late into the night." 


Wertheimer was also the last to see Nuriel alive before he was kidnapped.


"Last Wednesday, he left the factory at 1:30 p.m., to bring cocoa powder to our other factory, not far away. At 2 p.m. he said told the guard he was going out to inspect some raw materials, but he just disappeared. We never saw or heard from him again," he said.


According to Wertheimer, he received a phone call from the family about 10:00 p.m. that night.


"They said they were worried, that they didn't know where he was," he said. "In hindsight, maybe it was a bit irresponsible on his part to hang out with the Palestinians. Maybe it's obvious."


Family members grieve 


Wertheimer also said Nuriel had more than a few problems over the years that had affected his work.


"He had financial problems all the time," he said. "He once had a candy factory, but it didn't take root, and he had to close it."


"Before he began working with us he worked at several other factories in the area, and he knew a lot about food engineering. What happened to him was completely unexpected. No one could have predicted this. He was such a terrific person."


When notified of the death, Nuriel's family closed themselves off in the family's Jerusalem apartment, extended family and close friends began to gather to comfort and give strength to the bereaved.


Family members guarded their privacy and refused to speak to reporters, and even tried to avoid the many photographers at the scene. But one family member agreed to talk, saying Sasson was "straight as an arrow."


'A quiet, hard-working man'


Nuriel's family members are certain that the murder was nationalistically, and not criminally, motivated.


"This is a man who worked every day to earn a living as a laborer in a factory, so the murder could not have been related to business matters. There were Arab workers in the factory as well, he spoke Arabic and was in contact with them, and sometimes even helped mediated between them and the factory's management," a family member said.


Nuriel was described by his brother-in-law as "a very calm, quiet and shy person. There is no chance that someone has gotten into an argument with him. If you saw him you would immediately see that this is a very peaceful person," he said.


Doron Sheffer, Ali Waked and Meital Yas'ur Beit-Or contributed to the story


פרסום ראשון: 09.26.05, 17:20
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