The 17-year-old Palestinian who gruesomely killed a 13-year-old Israeli girl in her bed on Thursday had a death wish, posts from his Facebook suggest.
The victim, Hallel Yaffa Ariel, was stabbed repeatedly by Muhammad Nasser Tarayrah, in her bedroom in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba on Thursday morning and died of her injuries. Another man was seriously wounded in the terror attack.
The assailant was shot and killed, the Israel Defense Forces said.
In Tarayrah’s Facebook posts over recent months, he repeatedly publicized his desire to die and his love of martyrdom for the Palestinian cause.
On June 25 he wrote, “Death is a right and I demand my right.”
‘Death is a right and I demand my right’
In one post on May 3, he published a picture of a man dying on a surgery table in a hospital with the caption: “My dream is simple: it concerns a hospital + a bed and a doctor saying we have lost the patient.”
Along with the hospital bed picture, Tarayrah wrote: “Oh God, this is my dream.”
Those posts began after what appears to have been a highly traumatic experience for Tarayrah: the death of his friend and first cousin Yousef Walid Tarayrah, 18, who was killed by Israeli soldiers in mid-March as he attempted to run them over near Kiryat Arba. One soldier was lightly injured in that attack.
After Yousef’s death, Tarayrah began to write many posts, both mourning and praising his friend’s death, and wishing for “martyrdom.”
In one post from March 17, three days after his friend’s death, he wrote: “Yousef is not the first martyr nor the last / and before he is my cousin he is a son of Palestine / God willing I will walk in the martyr’s footsteps / God have mercy on him and take him to heaven.”
The post included a picture of Yousef lying dead on a hospital bed, his face covered in wounds.
Up through June Tarayrah continued to publish posts mourning his friend, including picture and video collages. In these posts he continued to refer to Yousef as a martyr and asked God to take him to heaven.
In a June 10 post, Tarayrah seemed to describe his suffocating grief over his friend’s death, writing, “Within me there is a deaf wound that won’t shout it hurts! A silent coma without end would suffice. My life burns within me and no one is aware.”
Tarayrah also recently posted pictures to Facebook honoring a Palestinian woman who crashed her car into an Israeli vehicle in a suspected car-ramming attack on June 24 near Kiryat Arba, referring to her as “a woman of valor.”
Even before the death of his friend, Tarayrah published posts on Facebook that suggest he supported attacks against Israelis.
For example, on February 21 he shared a graphic showing masked Palestinian youths throwing stones at Israeli forces, with the caption, “We will die as martyrs, get injured or become prisoners but our homeland will not fall.”
However, such political posts were rare before his friend’s death.
Killer’s mother, sister praise him as a “martyr”
A short video clip published on Palestinian media Thursday showed a sister of Tarayrah referring to her brother as a “martyr.”
“My brother is now a martyr. May God judge the Jews, and may my brother be content with his portion in paradise,” she said.
In a short video interview with a local news site in Hebron, the mother of Tarayrah can be seen with tear-soaked cheeks praising her son as a “hero.”
“My son is a hero…My son died as a martyr defending Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque. Praise God, he is united with the martyrs before him, and he is not better than them. God willing, all of them will follow this path, all the youth of Palestine.”