Body Of Missing U.S. Student Found In Israel
Israeli police said Thursday they have found the body of Aaron Sofer, an American seminary student, who went missing on Friday, Aug. 22.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the body was found in the same area where Sofer was reported missing nearly a week ago, ABC News reported.
Sofer, a 23-year-old Yeshiva student from New Jersey, disappeared while hiking in the Jerusalem Forest on Aug. 22.
Sofer was reported missing by a friend who was hiking with him. The friend “lost contact” with Sofer while they were walking in a hilly, forested area, CNN reported.
Hundreds of Israeli police officers and volunteers launched a massive manhunt for Sofer.
Avishai Landau, a search volunteer, told CNN that Sofer's disappearance was “extremely unusual” and that they had “absolutely nothing” to explain what happened to him.
Sofer's parents, who flew to Israel to find their son, offered a reward of around $28,000 to anyone who could locate Aaron.
“I want to thank everyone for all the help, but I ask you, please, please, please – I beg of you, beg you – please, if anyone sees any whereabouts of Aaron, please call the police immediately,” said Sofer’s mother, Chulda, in an emotional plea.
The Sofers also thanked the FBI and the U.S. Consulate for their efforts in the search.
“There are concerns, as we all know, about the possibility of abduction,” Republican Rep. Chris Smith told News 12 New Jersey on Tuesday.
He said the U.S. Department of State was helping Israeli authorities in the search for Sofer.
Police do not know the cause of death and have not indicated whether there were signs of foul play.
In July, a Palestinian teen's body was found in the Jerusalem Forest not far from where Sofer went missing. Authorities said it was a “revenge killing” for the death of three Israeli teens in June.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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