A Palestinian man stabbed and killed an Israeli teenage girl as she slept inside her home on Thursday in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba. A civil security guard responding to the attack shot and killed the assailant at the scene.
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The terrorist, identified as Mohammad Tra'ayra, 19, from the nearby Palestinian village of Bani Na'im, jumped the settlement's perimeter fence and then broke into the isolated home, stabbing 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel in her sleep.
The settlement's security guards rushed to the scene, alerted by the electronic system triggered when Tra'ayra jumped the fence, and shot the assailant dead. An Israeli guard, 31, was also wounded in the attack, apparently by Tra'ayra who stabbed him before being shot. Security forces were also investigating the possibility he was shot and wounded by a separate force that entered the home in response to the attack.
Ariel was critically wounded in the upper torso and rushed to hospital where she died of her injuries. The guard was listed in serious condition.
After the attack the Israel Defense Forces locked down the perpetrator's village, launched searches and questioned family members. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would also revoke the work permits of the terrorist's relatives.
In the days before the attack, Tra'ayra has been praising terrorists in Facebook posts. Tra'ayra specifically praised a Palestinian woman who rammed into a car in Kiryat Arba a week ago, causing no casualties though she was shot and killed at the scene. In a Facebook post, he called her a martyr whose “name has been exalted, you’re free and Jerusalem is proud of you.”
In a separate post before the attack on Thursday, Tra’ayra wrote that “death is a right and I demand the right to die.”
Relatives and friends said his Facebook posts had changed since March when his cousin was killed after carrying out a car ramming attack near Kiryat Arba, in which an IDF soldier was lightly wounded.
Soldiers enforcing a lockdown on the village have arrested Tra’ayra’s father.
Earlier this month, four Israelis were killed in shooting attack at Tel Aviv's Sarona Market, an upscale food and retail center located across from a military compound and near government buildings.
Police said the two Palestinian attackers had entered Israel illegally. They were identified as two cousins from the West Bank town of Yatta near Hebron.
Tensions in Jerusalem rose this week as Palestinians threw rocks from the Temple Mount at worshippers at the Western Wall, injuring a woman of 73. It was the first such case in several years, and police saw the incident as a worrisome development.