JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Palestinian teen was arrested in the stabbing murder of Dafna Meir, an Israeli mother of six, in her West Bank home.
The suspect, 16, was arrested overnight Monday in a Palestinian village near the scene of the attack, where he was hiding out, the Israel Defense Forces said. He reportedly was given up by local residents
The arrest of Morad Bader Abdullah Adais was part of a joint IDF and Shin Bet security service operation. He reportedly confessed to the attack.
Adais is accused of entering Meir’s home in Otniel and stabbing her to death while three of her children were at home. Meir’s 17-year-old daughter gave police a description of the killer.
The U.S. State Department in a statement issued Monday condemned the two attacks “in the strongest terms.”
“We were appalled and deeply saddened by the death of Dafna Meir, a mother of six, who was attacked on Sunday in her own home. We extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends and community,” the statement issued by department spokesman John Kirby said. “Today, a pregnant Israeli woman, Michal Froman, was stabbed in the West Bank. We wish her a full and complete recovery. These horrific incidents underscore the importance of affirmative steps to restore calm, reduce tensions and bring an immediate end to the violence.”
The statement came as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, speaking Monday at a Tel Aviv conference organized by the Institute for National Security Studies, accused Israel of having “two standards of adherence to rule of law in the West Bank — one for Jews and one for Palestinians.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Otniel on Tuesday morning, where he received a security briefing and paid a condolence call to the Meir family.
“Whoever wants to see the truth about the roots of the conflict between us and the Palestinians should come to Otniel and see here a wonderful family that only wants coexistence and peace,” Netanyau said in Otniel. “They should see the young people, inflamed by incitement, who come to murder women here, a mother of six, and in Tekoa, a pregnant woman. They come to murder them and say: We will destroy you all, in Tel Aviv and Jaffa as well. This is the truth. There is humanity here and the desire for peace and coexistence on one side and boundless hatred on the other.
“The root of the conflict is the refusal to recognize the Jews’ right to a have a state within any borders, here, in Tel Aviv, anywhere. I want to spread this truth to the world, and I want us to stand on the truth because the truth will win in the end, and so will we.”