Israeli Army Radio reported that a Muslim terrorist slipped into the bedroom of a sleeping 13-year old girl during the early morning hours today and stabbed her to death. The incident occurred in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, next to Hebron. Hallel Yaffa Ariel was unconscious and no longer breathing when a Magen David Adom paramedic team arrived. They managed to resuscitate her on the scene and then transfer her to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem for treatment.

Her mother, Rina told reporters, “My daughter was sleeping calmly when he [the terrorist] came into her bedroom,” adding, “She was happy.”

Hallel's blood-spattered bedroom

Hallel was pronounced dead, shortly ever reaching the hospital. Following the incident, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli military tweeted photographs of the girl’s blood spattered bedroom.


Hallel was a dancer and had performed with her troupe in Jerusalem last night. Her step-father, Amihai Ariel, is a cousin of Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, and runs a boutique winery. Her body will be placed to rest in the old Jewish cemetery in Hebron before sundown today, in accordance to time-honored custom.

Terrorist Mohammad Tarairah, 17, breached the fence around Kiryat Arba and broke into Hallel’s home. The residence is located next to a religious high school for boys. Once the alarm sounded, a security team responded and hunted down the terrorist. Before being felled by bullets, Tarairah managed to stab a security team member. The terrorist is now dead.

Among the paramedics who responded was the wife of the wounded security officer. She accompanied her husband to the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem. Medical staff at the hospital reported that the wounded man had non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.

Kiryat Arba has approximately 8,000 residents and is located outside of Hebron, which is mostly Palestinian. Residents were told to remain in place for 30 minutes until receiving the all-clear. A wave of stabbing attacks has afflicted Israel since at least September 2015, in and around Hebron and near Kiryat Arba. Infiltrations of Israeli settlements is rare.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered Israeli military to close off the Palestinian village of Bani Na'im, located near Kiryat Arba, where Tarairah lived. Work permits for Tarairah’s immediate and extended family have been rescinded. Tarairah was partly inspired by a previous terrorist attack just outside of Kiryat Arba that resulted in injuries to an Israeli couple. In that case, the female Palestinian driver in question was ultimately shot and killed by security forces. Tarairah mentioned her in his Twitter posts, under the hashtag "a sister to bravery.”

Earlier this week, Tarairah wrote a post saying that "the death is a right and I am asking for my right." His uncle, Yousuf Tarahirah, carried out a car-ramming attack in Hebron earlier this year.



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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