Body of missing yeshivah student found

Aaron Sofer, a strictly observant 23-year-old from New Jersey has been missing since last Friday (Photo: Facebook)

Aaron Sofer, a strictly observant 23-year-old from New Jersey has been missing since last Friday (Photo: Facebook)

The Israeli police have confirmed that they have identified the body found in the Jerusalem Forest on Thursday as American yeshivah student Aaron Sofer.

The body was discovered in the forest by volunteers from United Hatzalah after a six day long search for the young man.

"Soon after beginning our search, we came across a man’s body among the shrubbery that seemed to match the missing student’s description," said Yisrael Erlich, a Hazalah worker.

"We immediately notified the police via our phone app and a large group of police and first responders quickly appeared on the scene."

Policemen and volunteers from the Zaka search and rescue organisation near the Jerusalem Forest where the body of Aaron Sofer was found (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90).

Policemen and volunteers from the Zaka search and rescue organisation near the Jerusalem Forest where the body of Aaron Sofer was found (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90).

Media reports say the cause of death may have been dehydration and not the result of a terrorist or criminal attack as had been feared.

The 23-year-old from New Jersey was hiking in the Jerusalem Forest with a friend last Friday just before Shabbat when he went missing.

After the kidnap and murder of Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel in June, it had been thought that Hamas or another group would attempt a similar attack.

Rumours of terrorist involvement were prompted by the fact that Sofer's body was found just a few miles from where Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir was killed in July. Three Israelis have been arrested for what authorities say was a revenge attack.

Last updated: 9:23am, August 29 2014