A Palestinian stabbed a father and two of his children to death and seriously injured his wife in a home in the West Bank settlement Halamish Friday.
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The family was having a festive Shabbat dinner to celebrate a new addition to the family when a 19-year-old Palestinian from the neighboring town of Khobar entered the house armed with a knife. One of the women present rushed the children into a room, called the police and hid. Meanwhile the intruder stabbed four members of the family. He was stopped by a neighbor, an off-duty soldier, who heard the shouting, rushed over to the house and shot him.
The victims are a husband and wife in their 60s and their son and daughter who were in their 40s. Medical teams rushed them to Shaare Zedek medical center in Jerusalem, but were only able to save the mother.
The murderer, Omar el-Abed, was rushed to Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva where his injuries are being treated. Several hours before making his way into the settlement and murdering the three, el-Abed wrote on Facebook (in Arabic): "I have not yet reached the age of 20, I have many dreams, but there is no life after what is seen in Al-Aqsa."
Israeli security forces say the assailant identifies with Hamas, but is not considered an active member in the organization. During a preliminary interrogation, he said he recently bought the knife used in the attack amid tension surrounding the Al-Aqsa mosque.
Israeli forces raided the assailant's home overnight and arrested his brother while beginning initial preparations for demolishing the house.
The IDF further issued a lockdown of the area surrounding the village, instructing that no one is allowed to enter or leave the village, save for humanitarian cases.
The Israeli military will send additional troops to the West Bank, on top of the forces already deployed over the past 48 hours. "We have been seeing an awakening in the field since the morning. This is the third terrorist attack inspired by the events at Al-Aqsa in recent days," a senior IDF officer told Haaretz.
Hamas expressed its support for the killing. Hamas spokesman Husam Badran said: "We will continue fighting the occupation in all points of friction for the support of Al-Aqsa."
The incident comes after a day of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank that left at least three Palestinians dead in clashes with Israel.