A Palestinian attacker on Thursday fatally stabbed a US-Israeli teenager in her home at a Jewish settlement in the West Bank before being shot dead by security guards.
The Israel Defense Forces said the young Palestinian killed 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel in her bed after breaking into her home in the Kiryat Arba settlement outside the flashpoint city of Hebron.
Security personnel rushed to the house and fired on the attacker, who wounded a guard before being shot dead, it said.
The girl was taken to a hospital in Jerusalem in critical condition and died of her wounds.
The US Department of State later said that Ariel also held US citizenship.
The attacker was identified by the Palestinian Ministry of Health as Mohammed Nasser Tarayra, 19, from the village of Bani Naim, just outside the city, in the south of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Ariel’s family said she was attacked in her sleep, and the military released a photograph of her blood-spattered bedroom.
As mourners visited the family home, the girl’s father said she had been sleeping late after a dance performance the night before and that he had been on his way to the house to wake her for work when he heard of the attack.
She worked in his winery during the summer vacation that had just started, he told reporters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks with Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman after the attack, while the home village of the assailant was sealed off.
Israeli work permits for members of Tarayra’s extended family were also to be revoked and authorities began procedures aimed at demolishing his home, a measure often taken against attackers.
Hours later in Netanya, on the Mediterranean coast north of Tel Aviv, a Palestinian from the northern West Bank stabbed a man and woman, both Israelis, before being shot dead by a passing civilian, police said.
In New York on Thursday, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said that a report, expected to be released yesterday, by the Quartet on the Middle East — a group consisting of the UN, the US, the EU and Russia involved in mediating the peace process — demands Israel take urgent steps to halt the expansion of settlements.
Mladenov told the UN Security Council that ongoing Israeli construction in the West Bank was one of three “negative trends” that must be quickly reversed to keep the hope of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal alive.
Palestinian incitement of violence and the Palestinian Authority’s lack of control over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip also “severely undermine hopes for peace,” Mladenov said.
On a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories this week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned a recent wave of attacks as “terrorism.”
However, he urged Israel to address the “key underlying causes of violence” including “growing Palestinian anger, the paralysis of the peace process, the nearly a half-century of occupation.”