Teen killed in Kiryat Arba terror attack was an American citizen
Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, was stabbed to death by Palestinian teenager as she slept in her bed in her family’s home
Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.
The 13-year-old Israeli stabbed to death by a Palestinian teenager, as she slept in her bedroom in the settlement of Kiryat Arba on Thursday morning, was an American citizen, the State Department said.
Hallel Yaffa Ariel died of her wounds hours after a 17-year-old Palestinian high school dropout from a neighboring village jumped the fence into the settlement, broke into her home and fatally stabbed her.
“We have now confirmed that she is a US citizen,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said during a press briefing.
In a statement issued earlier in the day, Kirby said that Washington “condemned 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.”
“This brutal act of terrorism is simply unconscionable. We extend our deepest condolences to her family,” said the statement from Kirby.
The early-morning stabbing, among the most brazen Palestinian attacks during a nine-month wave of violence that has seen dozens of assaults on Israeli civilians and security forces, drew calls from Israeli leaders for the world to condemn the incident.
“The horrifying murder of a young girl in her bed underscores the bloodlust and inhumanity of the incitement-driven terrorists that we are facing,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “The entire world needs to condemn this murder, just as it condemned the terrorist attacks in Orlando and Brussels.”
The attack was roundly condemned by other members of international community, including the EU, UK and Germany.
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,” while the head of the European Union’s delegation in Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, “strongly condemned” the attack, adding there was “no excuse for terrorism.”
UK Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey denounced the “horrific terrorist attack, saying there was “no possible justification for murder of 13-year-old girl in her bed.”
Ariel was laid to rest in Hebron on Thursday afternoon at an emotional ceremony attended by hundreds of people, including several senior politicians.
Times of Israel staff and AP contributed to this report.