A 13-year-old girl died after being stabbed repeatedly by a Palestinian assailant who entered her bedroom in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba Thursday morning. Another man was seriously wounded in the terror attack.
The victim, Hallel Yaffa Ariel, was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem unconscious, not breathing and in critical condition, where doctors said they were unable to save her.
A 31-year-old man also suffered multiple stab wounds and shooting injuries in the attack, according to rescue and hospital officials.
It appears the man, a civilian guard responding to the attack, was accidentally shot by other guards in an effort to neutralize the terrorist, according to initial reports.
The assailant was shot and killed, the Israel Defense Forces said.
The Palestinian health ministry identified him as Muhammad Nasser Tarayrah, 17, from Bani Naim, adjacent to Kiryat Arba.
Local officials said the home lies on the edge in the Ramat Mamre neighborhood, adjacent to a fence surrounding the settlement. A picture released by the IDF showed the bedroom with blood smeared on beds and the floor.
According to an initial account, the attacker jumped the fence — a breach that sent an alert to the IDF and civilian security guards in the area — and broke into the girl’s bedroom, where she was sleeping.
Forces searching for the cause of the breach heard screams coming from the house and raced in to find the girl with multiple stab wounds in her bed, according to Channel 10. One of the guards hurried to her to provide first aid and was jumped by the attacker who managed to stab him.
The girl’s father and other guards fired shots at the attacker, killing him, and also wounding the responding guard.
A paramedic who arrived at the scene said he found the girl and the man lying on the ground.
“The girl was unconscious, without a pulse and not breathing. She had a number of penetrating wounds on her upper body. We loaded her onto the ambulance while performing CPR. Her condition was very serious. The second victim we loaded into the ambulance and gave him life-saving first aid. He was fully conscious, speaking with us throughout the ride [to the hospital],” said Magen David Adom medic Devora Aviad.
MDA said the wife of the man is a volunteer paramedic and helped treat her husband’s wounds.
Hospital officials later said he had been upgraded to moderate condition and was out of life-threatening danger.
ZAKA volunteer in Kiryat Arba David Edrai said: “To our great sadness, we find ourselves time after time treating people from our own community, people we know – and it breaks our heart. We carry out our sacred work with enormous pain and difficulties.”
The local government council statement said all Arab workers in the area had been removed from the settlement following the attack.
Settlement residents were briefly placed on lockdown as the army searched for a possible second assailant, but that was lifted shortly after.
The attack was reminiscent of an incident in January in which mother Dafna Meir was killed by a Palestinian terrorist who stabbed her to death at the entrance to her home in the nearby settlement of Otniel. A day later, a Palestinian sneaked into the settlement of Tekoa, also in the southern West Bank, and stabbed a pregnant woman, moderately injuring her.
The area had been a hotbed of violence during a wave of stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks earlier in the year.
On Friday, a Palestinian woman crashed her car into an Israeli vehicle in a likely car-ramming attack outside Kiryat Arba. A soldier who was nearby shot the driver, killing her, the military said, describing the incident as an “apparent” terror attack.
An Israeli couple was hurt in the incident, which happened near the entrance of the settlement, at the Elias junction.