Second IDF Soldier Killed

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- An Israel Defense Forces soldier killed by a Palestinian sniper Sunday in Hebron will be laid to rest Monday afternoon at the Haifa Military Cemetery. He is the second IDF soldier killed by Palestinians since Friday.

IDF Staff Sgt. Gal Kobi, 20, who served with the elite Givati Brigade, died at the Sha'are Medical Center in Jerusalem Sunday from a bullet wound to the neck.

In response to his murder, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered immediate action to facilitate the return of Jewish families to Beit Machpelah (Machpelah House) across from the Cave of the Patriarchs (Machpelah in Hebrew), where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and several of their wives are buried.

Jewish families moved into the three-story building near the end of March 2012. Then Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the IDF to forcibly expel the families on April 3, saying some of the paperwork wasn't in order.

Last July, a military appeals court ruled that the purchase is valid and properly documented, but the families had yet to move back to their apartment homes. Netanyahu's decision and the defense minister's approval will allow them to return.

"Those who try to uproot us from the City of the Patriarchs will achieve the opposite," Netanyahu said in a statement issued by his office just past midnight on Monday. "We will continue to fight terrorism and strike at terrorists on the one hand and strengthen settlement with the other."

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon convened the Security Cabinet to reassess the situation following the Friday's abduction and murder of IDF Sgt. Tomer Hazan and Staff Sgt. Kobi's death Sunday.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz also met with the head of the Central Command to talk about troop deployment in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

During Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), the IDF steps up its presence in Hebron, especially near the Jewish neighborhood and at the Cave of the Patriarchs, a favorite destination during the holiday.

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