Shock and horror gripped the Beduin city of Rahat on Wednesday, after a local mother was arrested on suspicion of brutally murdering three of her children earlier in the day.

The children, aged eight, four and two months, were found stabbed to death in the family home, while a three-year-old daughter survived the attack and is currently hospitalized in Soroka University Medical Center in moderate condition.

Negev District Police said the mother is the primary suspect but that they are continuing to examine other possible angles in the investigation.

Police said the mother had no known history of violent behavior and that the family has never been visited by the social services department.

Deputy superintendent David Shariki, head of the investigations branch of the Negev police, called the crime scene “highly disturbing,” adding that police were very quickly able to tie the mother to the murder.

Police are also examining the mother’s mental state at the time of the killings, to see if she was suffering from postpartum depression or severe levels of stress.

Rahat Mayor Faiz Abu Seheban called the triple infanticide “a shocking incident.” “We don’t know how this took place. We are all joining the family in their time of mourning and they need our support at this time. This brings sorrow to all of us,” he said.

Abu Seheban added that the family was “normative” and was never known to have any problems.

The mother will be brought to the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning, where police will seek an extension of her remand.

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