Israeli security forces have arrested the person believed responsible for Tuesday’s stabbing of a Jewish family in the West Bank.
The assailant was identified Wednesday as Hamdalleh Abdel Hadi Abdel Aziz, 20, a resident of an Arab village near the settlement of Ma’aleh Michmas, which is north of Jerusalem and near the West Bank town of Ramallah.
“He had a criminal background and recently began a process of becoming more religious. He went to the mosque daily,” the Israel Defense Force said Wednesday.
“Fingerprints were found linking him to the attack,” the IDF added.
Aziz is believed responsible for the stabbing death of British immigrant Daniel Frei, 28, and the wounding of his wife, Mara, 29, in an early morning attack.
The couple’s 18-month-old daughter, Rachel, was sleeping in the house at the time of the attack and was unharmed.
Doctors at Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem said Wednesday that Mara Frei’s condition was significantly improved.
She was moved from the intensive care unit after undergoing surgery for wounds to the chest and abdomen.
She was reported to be fully conscious and breathing on her own.
Frei, who was three months pregnant, lost the pregnancy as a result of the attack.
Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau visited her at the hospital Wednesday and offered prayers for a speedy recovery.
Israel Radio, citing security sources, reported that Aziz was arrested at his West Bank home on Tuesday night after the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, had gathered information about him.
Security forces said he was believed to have collaborated in the past with Israeli authorities.
Interrogators were still investigating the motive for the attack.
Israel Radio reported that the stabbings might have been motivated by the alleged killer’s desire to prove he was not an Israeli former.
On Tuesday, an anonymous caller phoned a news agency in Jerusalem and claimed responsibility for the attack in the name of George Habash’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.