JERUSALEM, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Israeli security forces arrested two Palestinians near Hebron during the weekend, suspected of killing a retired Israeli colonel in his house on Thursday night, the Shin Bet security agency said on Sunday.
The security forces, including the Israeli police, the Shin Bet Security Agency and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), found the alleged murder weapons, an axe and iron rods prior to the capture of the suspects, Uda Farid Taleb (18) and Bashir Ahmed Harub (21) near south Hebron.
However, whereas early Friday the defense establishment estimated that the incident is most likely motivated by nationalistic motive and is a terror act, it appears the motive is not yet clear and is still investigated by security forces.
Colonel Sariya Ofer was murdered in his house overnight Thursday in the Jordan Valley as he was beaten to death by two people. His wife, who was also in the house, managed to escape and sustained moderate wounds.
According to a report by the Times of Israel, security officials are looking into a possibility that the murder had occurred amid a burglary attempt gone wrong.
There have also been allegations that the incident is criminal, and that Ofer sank into debts and was involved with criminal circles, the Ynet website reported.
"We are looking into the latest incident in the Jordan Valley," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during Sunday's cabinet meeting, talking about an increase in terror attacks in the West Bank.
Three weeks ago, soldier Gal Kobi was killed in Hebron, apparently shot dead by a sniper. A day earlier, 20-year-old Tomer Hazan, also an IDF soldier, was murdered in the West Bank city of Qalqiliiya.
Last week, a nine-year-old girl sustained light to moderate injuries after a gunman fired into the backyard of her family house in the settlement of Psagot, north of Jerusalem.