Prime Minister Benjamin on Sunday vowed to catch the terrorist who stabbed to death a woman in front of her teenage daughter in the West Bank settlement of Otniel, as officials expressed shock over the crime.
Dafna Meir was slashed to death by a suspected Palestinian assailant who entered her home and then fled. Troops launched a massive manhunt for the attacker, entering a nearby Palestinian village and declaring the area a closed military zone.
Meir’s 17-year-old daughter Renana reportedly witnessed the attack and gave security authorities a description of the assailant after he fled the scene.
“Dafna Meir, mother of six, was brutally murdered this evening by a Palestinian terrorist inside her home in Otniel,” Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page, referring to the victim’s four children and two foster children living with the family.
“In the name of all Israelis, I want to give strength to all the children of the family. All of us are hurting and share in the painful grief. We will find the terrorist, and he will pay the full price for this heinous murder,” he wrote.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon also promised to catch the killer.
“We will not rest until we settle accounts with the terrorist, wherever he is,” Ya’alon said in statement. “Today’s murder at Otniel teaches us yet again what a cruel enemy we are up against.”
President Reuven Riviln spoke to the head of the Har Hebron Regional Council Yohai Damari to express his condolences and support for the community.
“This is a horrific tragedy, and I am with you with all of my heart,” he said. “This is shocking and terrible. At this time of grief, disbelief, and pain, I am sure you are focused on doing all that is needed in order to help the family and all the residents of the community.”
Damari thanked the president for the call and promised to pass on Rivlin’s condolences to the Meir family.
“I greatly appreciate your calling at this difficult time and I will pass on your words to the family,” he said. “I have faith and trust that the security services will find the terrorist sooner or later, and that they are doing everything possible in order to return a sense of security to the community as swiftly as possible.”
Zehava Galon, leader of the dovish Meretz party, called the killer “cruel and inhuman.”
“I am shocked by this terrible attack and sure that every effort is being made to find the murderer and prosecute him to the full extent of the law,” she said.
Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni called the killing “heartbreaking.”
“The fact that she was raising two foster children testifies to her character, and in her death she did the the most terrible and unimaginable motherly thing, she protected her daughter with her body. I send full backing to the security forces in the hunt to catch the murderer,” she wrote on Facebook.
The killing was the latest in a string of terror attacks that have gripped the country over the last four months, killing some two dozen Israelis and injuring over 300 more, according to figures released Sunday by the Magen David Adom rescue service. Over 100 Palestinians have been killed over the same period, most of them in the course of attacks on Israeli civilians and troops, according to police and the army.