Israeli Army Arrests Palestinian Suspect in Otniel Mother's Murder

Palestinian media identify suspect in West Bank stabbing as 15-year-old from South Hebron Hills village.

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Israeli security forces arrest the suspect behind the murder of Dafna Maor.Credit: IDF Spokesmen's Unit

The Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security services arrested a Palestinian suspect in the murder of Dafna Meir, the Israeli mother of six stabbed to death at her home in the West Bank settlement of Otniel on Sunday.

The Palestinian suspect was arrested by forces from the IDF's elite Duvdevan undercover unit before being transferred to the Shin Bet for questioning. Palestinian media has identified the suspect as a 15-year-old from Yatta, east of Otniel.

Meir, 39, tried to fight off the attacker but was killed at the entrance to her home in Otniel, south of Hebron, before the assailant fled. Three of her children were home at the time, but were not injured. Army sources said Sunday that the assailant probably fled to the nearby Palestinian village of Khirbet Karameh, in the South Hebron Hills. Security forces searched the area using drones, helicopters and dogs from the IDF's Oketz unit.

Palestinian laborers have temporarily been banned from working on settlements in the West Bank after Maor's murder and a stabbing attack that moderately wounded a pregnant woman. The IDF says the decision is not "collective punishment," but necessary to maintain order inside settlements, adding that the ban will be reviewed on a daily basis.

Hundreds attended Meir's funeral in Otniel on Monday before she was laid to rest in the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem. Meir was a nurse specializing in the halakhic aspects of gynecological healthcare. She ran clinics in Otniel and Be'er Sheva, worked as a nurse in the Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva, and wrote a blog on women's issues. She leaves behind her husband Nathan and six children, aged 17 to six, of which the youngest, aged four and six, are foster children.

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