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Israeli Murder Suspect Surrenders

November 3, 1998

JERUSALEM (AP) _ An Israeli man suspected of bludgeoning to death an elderly Palestinian farmer in the West Bank was ordered held for six days after surrendering to authorities, police said today.

The suspect, Gur Hamel, had been on the run since the killing of Mohammed Zalout, whose body was found Oct. 26 near the Jewish settlement of Itamar where Gur lived occasionally.

Police initially said Zalout, 65, had been killed to avenge the slaying of an Israeli security guard hours earlier in the West Bank city of Hebron. Police received an anonymous phone call at the time from a man speaking in Hebrew who said the two slayings were linked.

Police now believe, after an investigation, that Zalout was killed before the Israeli, Daniel Vargas. There was no indication that Zalout’s death was a revenge killing, police spokeswoman Linda Menuchin said today.

Israeli radio reports have quoted Itamar settlers as saying that Hamel was an extremist whose request to become a permanent resident of Itamar was turned down.

Hamel surrendered to Israeli police on Monday with legislator Benny Elon of the far-right Moledet Party serving as mediator.

A magistrate ordered Hamel held for six days for questioning and to reconstruct the killing, police spokeswoman Linda Menuhin said.

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