A Palestinian terrorist stabbed and moderately wounded a 30-year-old pregnant woman in the industrial zone of the West Bank settlement of Tekoa on Monday morning.
This follows the fatal stabbing on Sunday evening of a mother of six, Dafna Meir, at her home in the nearby South Hebron Hills community of Otniel.
To prevent clashes between Palestinians and angry settlers, the IDF has issued a 24-hour ban on the entry of Palestinian workers to settlements in Judea and Samaria. Industrial zones are excluded from the ban.
Monday’s victim, Michal Froman, was in a clothing warehouse at the time of the attack. She is the daughterin- law of late renowned peace advocate Rabbi Menachem Froman.
Witness Hanni Gimpel said, “As we were organizing, a young man entered, approximately between the age of 18 and 20, and he was asking questions. I immediately suspected him and took a step back. Then he pulled a knife from his pocket, and started chasing us inside the warehouse.”
One of the women fell down during the tumult and the knife-bearer started to stab her, as the rest of the women ran out of the structure screaming.
“Immediately people with weapons came, and [the assailant] ran away. He didn’t succeed in wounding her too seriously,” she said, adding that the terrorist “just entered private property inside the town, in a place where there were only women.”
An armed civilian fired on and shot the attacker, critically wounding him.
Magen David Adom paramedics evacuated Froman to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. She suffered from a stab wound to her upper body.
The IDF said the terrorist was in critical condition, on a ventilator and sedated in the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, after being evacuated by an army emergency medical care team.
Security forces on Monday continued a widespread manhunt for Meir’s killer, who had successful fled Otniel after the attack.
Sweeps by IDF units and intelligence efforts to track down the terrorist continued, and the military maintained a heightened state of alert around settlements.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot visited Otniel on Monday. He toured the area accompanied by OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Roni Nume and the commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, Brig.-Gen. Lior Carmeli, as well as other army chiefs. He received a briefing on the attempts to track down the terrorist.
There is some suspicion that the attacker knew the Meir family and therefore was familiar with their home.
Etzion Brigade Commander Col. Roman Gofman on Monday ordered the removal of all Palestinian workers from the Gush Etzion settlements.
The two assaults brought along strong political responses. The US “unequivocally” condemns the “barbaric acts to terrorism” of the last two days and believes “all others should” condemn them as well, US ambassador Dan Shapiro said Monday.
Shapiro’s comments came as the Palestinian Authority has remained silent in the face of the murder in Otniel Meir in the presence of her small children, and the stabbing in Tekoa of Froman.
Shapiro began his speech to the Institute for National Security Studies annual conference in Tel Aviv with a personal statement, saying, “since October, like so many Israelis, I’ve had to attend funerals, make shiva [mourning period] calls and pay visits to hospitals. And like all Israelis, I’ve worried about friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members against the backdrop of this latest wave of terrorism, and among the victims have been American citizens, like Eitam Henkin, Richard Lakin and Ezra Schwartz, may their memories be blessed.”
Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, before meeting President Reuven Rivlin, also condemned the “terrible terror attack,” saying she wanted to send her sympathies to the family. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Swaraj, “The abhorrent terrorist who murdered Dafna Meir, who – along with her husband – raised six children, will be caught. I would like to send my condolences to Natan and the children, to the entire family. The entire Jewish people grieves with you. I spoke last night with Hebron Hills Regional Council Chairman Yohai Damari and I asked him to tell the residents to be strong. I told him that we would strengthen the communities. Whoever tries to harm us, we will bring him to justice. In the end he will be found and he will pay the full price.”Tovah Lazaroff and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.