Three Israelis were killed and another was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Halamish on Friday night when a terrorist broke into their home and began stabbing the family as they ate their Shabbat dinner.
The IDF said a Palestinian assailant killed a man and two of his children, while his wife was badly wounded and taken to hospital. The man’s grandchildren were present but not harmed, the army said.
According to a preliminary investigation, the terrorist, a Palestinian in his late teens from a nearby village, arrived in the settlement on foot armed with a knife, climbed a fence and chose the last house on a street near it.
The perpetrator broke a window and entered the home, surprising a family of about 10 inside as they were finishing their dinner, and launched his stabbing spree.
During the attack, another daughter hid several of the grandchildren in one of the rooms, where she called police and began shouting that a terrorist was inside the home.
Paramedics said the the victims, a father in his 60s, his son in his 40s, and his daughter in her 40s, died of their wounds.
The mother, in her 60s, was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in serious condition.
Palestinian media identified the terrorist as Omar al-Abed, 19, from the village of Kobar, near Ramallah.
An IDF soldier on leave in a nearby home responded to the screams and shot and wounded Abed through his window, according to Magen David Adom rescue service officials. An MDA paramedic at the scene told The Times of Israel the attacker was wounded by the shooting and was evacuated to hospital in moderate condition.
In initial questioning, Abed said he bought the knife two days ago, wanting to commit a terror attack because of events surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The attack came after a day of heavy clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in and around Jerusalem over new security measures at the sensitive site, following a terror attack last Friday in which three Israeli Arabs killed two Israeli police officers at the site.
Hebrew media, citing Palestinian sources, reported that two hours before the attack in Halamish on Friday, the terrorist published a post on Facebook calling for the need to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which sits on the Temple Mount alongside the Dome of the Rock sanctuary.
The IDF released a photo of the post in which he wrote, according to a translation: “I have many dreams and aspirations. I know that with Allah my dreams will come true. I loved life, making people smile, but what kind of life is this? They kill our women and youth, defile our Aqsa while we sleep.”
“Take your weapons and resist… I only have a knife and it will answer the call of Al-Aqsa. You start a war amongst us and Allah will judge you for it,” he wrote.
“I hope that after me there will come men who beat you with an iron fist. I know I am going and will not return,” he wrote bidding farewell to his family.
A senior IDF official said that the terrorist was affiliated with Hamas but was not an activist.
Hamas praised the attack as “heroic,” and said it came after “Israel’s attacks on the rights of our people in Jerusalem and at Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Security forces said they were looking for any additional suspects in the Halamish attack.
MDA paramedics described a “very difficult” scene in the house in the settlement, also known as Neve Tsuf.
“When we went into the house we saw four casualties lying [on the floor] with stab wounds. Three of them were unconscious, with no pulse and [were] not breathing,” said Ohad Amitoun with Magen David Adom.
“Another 60-year-old woman was conscious and suffered stab wounds to her upper body. She was treated at the scene and was evacuated by an MDA intensive care ambulance. She was in moderate-serious condition,” he added.