SEARCH

News » International

Updated: March 12, 2011 18:58 IST

Israel pursues attackers who killed settlers

AP
print   ·   T  T  
An Israeli border police officer patrols the West Bank village of Awarta, after five people were killed in the nearby Jewish settlement of Itamar on Saturday. Photo: AP.
An Israeli border police officer patrols the West Bank village of Awarta, after five people were killed in the nearby Jewish settlement of Itamar on Saturday. Photo: AP.

Israeli officials said Palestinian militants infiltrated the settlement and killed the couple and the children, aged 11 and three. A baby was also killed.

The Israeli military launched a massive search on Saturday for suspected Palestinian militants after an Israeli family of five - including two young children and a baby - were knifed to death overnight as they slept in a Israeli officials said Palestinian militants infiltrated the settlement and killed the couple and the children, aged 11 and three. A baby was also killed.ent.

Footage from the scene broadcast on Israeli media showed children’s toys covered in blood and furniture tipped over.

Israeli officials said Palestinian militants infiltrated the settlement and killed the couple and the children, aged 11 and three. A baby was also killed.

Israeli media said two young children were asleep in another part of the house and survived. Another family member, a 12—year—old girl, was away at a youth group function when the attack occurred. She found the carnage when she came home and alerted authorities.

Military officials said they had made arrests, but wouldn’t provide details.

“This was a very harsh terror attack, a whole family was wiped out by despicable cowardly murderers who came in the dead of night and killed innocent children, a woman and man as they slept,” said Avi Mizrachi, commander of the military’s Central Command.

The attack at Itamar settlement is the first against settlers in months and the deadliest in years, marking a rare outburst of violence during a relatively calm period. It comes as Israeli—Palestinian peace efforts are at a standstill and could complicate efforts to restart them.

Itamar is a small, isolated settlement in the northern West Bank that has rocky relations with the nearby Palestinian towns and villages.

Palestinian security forces also were searching for suspects, Nablus governor Jibril Bakri told The Associated Press.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad condemned the attack.

“Violence does not justify violence, we condemn it completely, whoever does it and whoever the victims are,” Fayyad told the Associated Press.

Israeli forces set up check points in the area and residents of the nearby village of Awarta said Israeli soldiers had surrounded a building and made some arrests.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “deeply shocked” by the incident and called on the Palestinian Authority to help find the attackers. He said he would hold a special security meeting to decide further action.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak convened security and intelligence personnel overnight and conferred with the prime minister’s office, his office said in a statement.

The attack occurred on the Jewish Sabbath when the observant are prohibited from working and most physical activity, instead spending the day in prayer or rest.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a mostly defunct Palestinian militant group, took responsibility for the attack. However, it was not clear if they really did it. The Brigades frequently take credit for attacks they didn’t do in hopes of raising their profile.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he would file a complaint with the U.N. over the attack and that he expects “worldwide condemnation of the satanic murder of an entire family.”

Peace talks between the two sides collapsed last year over disputes over Israeli settlements in the West Bank, territory Palestinians envision as part of their future state.

“Now maybe the international community that condemns us all the time will understand who we are dealing with here, in every peace agreement they want us to sign, they need to understand who is on the other side,” said Danny Danon, a hawkish member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

The attack was reminiscent of a similar one in Itamar in June 2002, during the height of a Palestinian uprising, when a gunmen burst into the home of a family and opened fire.

The mother of the family and three of her children were murdered. Another two children were seriously injured and a local security official was shot to death as he tried to help.

More In: International | News
The Hindu presents the all-new Young World

An act that triggered a World War

A century ago this day, a double murder carried out by a group of Bosnian assassins became a historic event. »  

National

Business

Cricket

Sport


O
P
E
N

close

Recent Article in International

Manny Roth, founder of Café Wha?, dead at 94

Manny Roth, founder of the Greenwich Village club Cafş Wha?, has died. Roth, who gave early breaks to such future superstars as Bo... »