A mother, father and three of their children were stabbed to death late Friday
night by at least one suspected terrorist who infiltrated the Itamar settlement
southeast of Nablus.
The killings occurred shortly after 10 p.m., when
one or two attackers jumped the fence that surrounds Itamar and broke into the
home of Ruth and Udi Fogel, aged 35 and 36, respectively. The attackers went
room to room, stabbing the parents, a three-month-old girl, Hadas, and two boys,
Elad, three, and Yoav, 11.
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Two other children – aged two and eight – were in a side room but were not
The family’s oldest child, 12- year-old Tamar, was out of the
house at the time.
The IDF immediately launched searches in nearby Arab
villages as Palestinians reported that a faction of Fatah’s al-Aksa Martyrs
Brigade had claimed responsibility.
Several dozen suspects were arrested
in Awarta, Sanur and Zabada as soldiers conducted searches with the aid of
unmanned aerial vehicles that provided surveillance from above.
attackers used knives rather than rifles or pistols, and because of other
characteristics of the killings, the IDF believes it was not carried out by an
organized terrorist infrastructure but more likely was the work of one or two
people who could, though, be affiliated with one of the larger Palestinian
The army urged the settler community to demonstrate
restraint in the coming days.
The IDF and the Israel Police deployed
large forces in the area to prevent clashes between settlers and
The suspected terrorists infiltrated the settlement close
to 9:30 p.m. but did not carry out the attack until around 10:15.
“The children were literally slaughtered,” an IDF officer said, describing the
scene, including the children’s toys spilled out on the floor and covered in
blood. “This is one of the most brutal attacks we have ever seen.”
IDF was in contact with Palestinian Authority security forces, but senior
officers said the army would not rely on the PA to catch the
“This attack is one of the worst attacks we have known in
recent years and we will hunt down the terrorists until they are caught,” the
officer said, noting that there had not been an infiltration into Itamar in
almost eight years.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak convened top military and
security chiefs on Saturday and urged them to take all necessary action to
apprehend the killers.
“This is a horrible attack that makes my blood
boil, but I have no doubt that the perpetrators will be captured,” Barak said
during a meeting with IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz and Shin
Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin. “We need to do everything so
security and quiet can return to the area.”
OC Central Command Maj.-Gen.
Avi Mizrahi expressed condolences following the attack.
“An entire family
was killed by despicable and cowardly murderers who murdered children and
parents for no reason,” he said.
Mizrahi hinted that the IDF had a lead
on the identity of the terrorists: “We are in the midst of pursuing the
terrorists and I believe we will catch them very soon,” he said.
details of the investigation were covered by a gag order.
family lived in Gush Katif. After the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip, it
moved to Ariel and then to Itamar.