The mother of a teenage girl who was stabbed to death Thursday morning by a Palestinian terrorist as she lay asleep in her bed said it was a “miracle” that her two other daughters were not at home at the time of the attack.
Speaking hours after her 13-year-old daughter, Hallel Yaffa Ariel, was killed while sleeping in her bedroom in the Kiryat Arab settlement, Rina Ariel said that she and her husband, Avichai, were out with their other daughters when the attacker struck.
“We weren’t at home and it was a miracle that we took the younger girls to their activities,” she told Channel 2. “They all sleep in the same room, and I can only imagine what would have happened if that same terrorist would have entered and seen three little girls. He would have murdered my three daughters.”
The Palestinian stabber — identified as Muhammad Nasser Tarayrah, 17, from the nearby village of Bani Na’im — jumped the fence into Kiryat Arba, broke into the house and knifed Ariel in her bed. He then stabbed a civilian security guard who arrived at the scene. Tarayrah was shot and killed by other guards.
“Nothing can mitigate the murder of a 13-year-old girl in her bed, nothing,” Rina Ariel added.
Her daughter was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Hebron, just outside Kiryat Arba, on Thursday evening.
Local officials said the Ariel home lies on the edge in the Ramat Mamre neighborhood, adjacent to a fence surrounding the settlement.
Ariel said that she was aware of the dangers posed by living near the fence.
“Of course there is fear, but there is also a lot of security and a lot of strength,” she said.
Thursday’s killing brought to 33 the Israeli death toll in a spate of Palestinian stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks since October, 2015.
Over 200 Palestinians have also been killed over that same period, the majority of them while carrying out attacks, according to Israeli authorities. Others were killed in clashes with IDF soldiers.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.