A teenage girl was violently stabbed and killed by a Palestinian terrorist early Thursday morning.
Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, was rushed to the hospital after being stabbed multiple times in her bedroom in Kiryat Arba. The assailant had entered her room while she was sleeping. Doctors were unable to save her.
A new statement Thursday by the U.S. State Department reveals that she was an American citizen.
The attacker, 17-year-old Muhammad Tarayra from Bani Naim, adjacent to Kiryat Arba, was shot and killed.
A third individual, a 31-year-old civilian guard, also suffered stab and shot wounds. In trying to help the girl, the guard was accidentally shot by other guards trying to neutralize the terrorist.
Israel has experienced a wave of terror since October 2015 when Palestinians began dozens of stabbing and shooting attacks on Israelis. The latest incident comes on the heels of the Tel Aviv mall shooting on June 8 that resulted in four deaths.
As it is currently the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, tensions between Palestinians and Israelis are running high in Israel.
In a statement, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “The horrifying murder of a young girl in her bed underscores the bloodlust and inhumanity of the incitement-driven terrorists that we are facing.
The entire nation deeply identifies with the family’s pain and declares to the murderers: You will not break us.
We will continue to ask strong and determined action against terrorism everywhere and at all times.”
Netanyahu continued, saying he expects Palestinian leadership to take appropriate action in condemning the murder and urges enlightened nations to join in pressuring the head of the violent network responsible rather than the State of Israel.
The U.S. State Department released a statement Thursday morning in which spokesman John Kirby condemned the murder “in the strongest possible terms” and extended condolences to the girl’s family.
The Israeli military has cordoned off Bani Naim, the village where the terrorist resided.