Sorek’s body was found with multiple stab wounds in the early hours of the morning on the side of a road near the seminary where he studied as part of a program which combines Torah studies with military service. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said that the soldier was neither armed nor in uniform when his body was found, adding the military was searching for the suspects.
The incident took place as Sorek was making his way from the square near the entrance to the settlement of Efrat to the nearby settlement of Migdal Oz. The attackers are believed to have followed the victim in a vehicle before stabbing the soldier and fleeing the scene. The teen’s dead body was discovered by IDF troops only six hours after the incident
In the meantime, thousands gathered on Thursday evening at the civilian cemetery in the settlement of Ofra, where the Sorek family lives, for the funeral of the soldier.
"Our dear and beloved Dvir, in a few days we were supposed to celebrate your 19th birthday,” eulogized Sorek’s father Yoav. “I think of these 19 years and I can't help but smile because the memory of you brings lightens up my face.
"We had been given a gift which for the past 19 years has spread light and goodness within and outside our family. I've said it before and I'll say it again, without pretentiousness and cynicism, God gave us this gift and he took it away," said the father.
The family made a statement shortly before the proceedings began, saying they've decided to donate Dvir's organs. "It would have been his wish," said the mother.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the scene of the attack shortly before the funeral and denounced the killing as a terror attack, vowing to “settle scores” with the killers.
“Our answer to the murderers is that they come to destroy and we come to build,” said the prime minister. “Our long arm will get them and we’ll settle scores with them. I have no doubt, based on what I have heard, that we will catch those who committed this horrific murder.”
As part of the searches, a column of Israeli jeeps entered the nearby Palestinian village of Beit Fajar, a mile south of where the body was found on Thursday afternoon. Soldiers blocked the road and searched homes.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Islamic militant group Hamas issued a statement praising the killing of the soldier.
"We salute the hero fighters, sons of our people, who carried out the heroic operation which killed a soldier of the occupation army," Hamas said in a statement. The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad also hailed the killing as "heroic and bold."
President Donald Trump's Mideast negotiator, Jason Greenblatt, attacked Hamas' statements, writing on his Twitter account that the militant group "chooses death & destruction over taking care of people they claim to lead."
Rabbi Shlomo Wilk, head of Sorek's yeshiva, told Israel Radio that the student had gone to Jerusalem to buy presents for the school's faculty. Wilk said Sorek had called a friend and said he would return on time.
"When he was late, we started to worry," Wilk said. "Fairly quickly we understood that something wasn't right and we got the police involved."
Associated Press contributed to this report