Five Palestinians detained amid hunt for Otniel stabber
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Five Palestinians detained amid hunt for Otniel stabber

Funeral begins for Dafna Meir, stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in her home Sunday night

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

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot near the scene of a stabbing attack in Otniel in the West Bank on Monday, January 18, 2016 (IDF spokesperson)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot near the scene of a stabbing attack in Otniel in the West Bank on Monday, January 18, 2016 (IDF spokesperson)

Security forces overnight Sunday detained five Palestinians for questioning in the area of the Otniel settlement amid searches for the terrorist who stabbed to death a woman in front of her teenage daughter at their home in the Jewish community.

In all, 27 Palestinians were detained during sweeps across the West Bank on suspicion of terror-related activities. The suspects were taken in for questioning by security forces.

The five were questioned to ascertain whether they were connected to Sunday’s attack in which Dafna Meir, 39, was stabbed to death in her home.

With three of her children in the house, Meir wrestled with the attacker before being stabbed and left for dead as the attacker fled.

Media reports said her daughter Renana, 17, witnessed the attack and described the terrorist to authorities.

The family of Dafna Meir at her funeral in Jerusalem on January 18, 2106. Meir was stabbed to death at the entrance to her home in the settlement of Otniel on January 17. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
The family of Dafna Meir at her funeral in Jerusalem on January 18, 2106. Meir was stabbed to death at the entrance to her home in the settlement of Otniel on January 17. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A funeral procession for the mother of six, two of them foster children, was underway Monday morning, setting out from Otniel toward the Har Hamenuhot cemetery in Jerusalem, where she was set to be buried at 11 a.m.

Dafna Meir, who was killed in an attack in her Otniel home on January 17, 2016 (screen capture)
Dafna Meir, who was killed in an attack in her Otniel home on January 17, 2016 (screen capture)

On the morning after the attack, investigators were still trying to determine how the stabber entered the settlement. After killing Meir, the assailant made his escape, which was recorded on security cameras. However, there appeared to be no evidence that he had broken into the settlement, adding weight to the theory that he was employed in the settlement, likely in construction.

Trackers found his escape path, but no evidence of his entry into the settlement, suggesting he had entered through the front gate.

As a precaution, all Palestinian workers were banned from entering settlements in the area on Monday.

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Searches were focusing on Palestinian villages near Otniel and in particular the village of Khirbet Karme, where security forces believe the terrorist may be hiding out.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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