US, Germany condemn killing of sleeping Israeli teen
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US, Germany condemn killing of sleeping Israeli teen

State Department calls Kiryat Arba terror attack 'unconscionable'; in Hebrew, Berlin says it is a 'new record in atrocious and cruel acts'

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

First responders remove a mattress from the home of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel, who died of her wounds after she was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist as she lay in bed at her home in Kiryat Arba, in the West Bank, June 30, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
First responders remove a mattress from the home of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel, who died of her wounds after she was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist as she lay in bed at her home in Kiryat Arba, in the West Bank, June 30, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The US State Department on Thursday condemned a terror attack earlier in the day in which a 13-year-old Israeli girl was stabbed to death in her bed, calling it “simply unconscionable.”

Denouncements were also issued by the German Foreign Ministry and the US, UK, and EU envoys to Israel, who all said there was no justification for such attacks.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the outrageous terrorist attack this morning in the West Bank where a 13-year-old girl, Hallel Ariel, was stabbed to death in her home,” the US State Department said in a statement. “This brutal act of terrorism is simply unconscionable. We extend our deepest condolences to her family. We also understand another individual who was responding to the attack was wounded by the attacker. We extend our hopes for a quick and full recovery.”

Hallel Yaffa Ariel died of her wounds after she was stabbed in her room on Thursday morning by a Palestinian teen — identified as Muhammad Nasser Tarayrah, 17, from the nearby village of Bani Na’im — who jumped the fence into the Kiryat Arba settlement, broke into her house and knifed her, before also stabbing a civilian security guard who arrived at the scene. Tarayrah was shot and killed by other guards.

The German Foreign Office said in a statement that “the stabbing of a 13-year-old girl is a new record in atrocious and cruel acts.”

Hallel Yaffe Ariel, 13, was killed in a stabbing attack in her bedroom in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, June 30, 2016. (Courtesy)
Hallel Yaffe Ariel, 13, was killed in a stabbing attack in her bedroom in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, June 30, 2016. (Courtesy)

“No religion, no political conflict and no personal frustration can justify the malicious murder of a sleeping child,” the ministry continued in a rare Hebrew-language statement. “All those responsible for decision making in the region must act together to eradicate the hatred that is filling people’s heads and to promote human values.”

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, called on the UN Security Council to condemn the killing and charged that incitement from the Palestinian leadership had motivated the attacker.

“There is a direct line between Mahmoud Abbas’ words of incitement in the European Parliament to the ghastly murder of Hallel Ariel,” Danon said, referring to a recent speech given by the PA president in the EU parliament. “I call on the Security Council to condemn this horrific murder and to put an end to the rampant Palestinian incitement.”

US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro posted a message to his Twitter feed, saying, “I strongly condemn the murder of 13yr old Halel Ariel. There’s never a justification for such terrorism. May God send comfort to her family.”

UK Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey similarly denounced the incident.

“Condemn today’s horrific terrorist attack,” he tweeted. “Can be no possible justification for murder of 13 year old girl in her bed.”

Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the head of the European Union’s delegation in Israel, wrote, “Strongly condemn terror murder of Hallel Yaffa Ariel in Kiryat Arba this morning. No excuse for terrorism – LFA”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the world to condemn the “shocking” attack as it did the terror attacks at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, earlier this month — in which 49 people were killed in the worst shooting attack in modern US history — and the shooting and suicide bombings at the airport and a metro station in the Belgian capital in March which claimed the lives of 32 people.

“The whole world must condemn this terror attack like the terror attacks in Orlando and Brussels were condemned,” he said.

The attack was also condemned by Human Rights Watch, whose director in Israel and the Palestinian territories, Sari Bashi, tweeted that settlers were not legitimate military targets.

Bashi added that the attack did not provide “legal justification” for “collective punishment” measures such as demolishing the home of the attacker’s family. According to reports Thursday afternoon, the IDF was already gearing up to raze the house.

“The fatal stabbing of a 13-year-old girl while she slept in her bed is a ghastly crime,” she said in a statement. “The fact that settlements are illegal under international law does not make their inhabitants, the children as well as their parents, subject to lethal attack. At the same time, the killing provides no legal justification for the Israeli government to punish the alleged attacker’s family members. Destroying the home of the attacker’s relatives and canceling their work permits is an unlawful collective punishment, causing suffering for family members who committed no crime.”

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