An 84-year-old woman was murdered by an Arab terrorist in a central Israeli city yesterday.
By Erin Viner
Security camera footage captured the brutal attack on the Israeli victim on HaHashmonaim Street in Holon in broad daylight yesterday evening. After stalking the elderly woman as she walked home, the dark-clad assailant repeatedly struck her on the head from behind with a heavy object before fleeing the scene.
“This is a shocking attack by a despicable and cowardly terrorist who murdered an elderly woman who could not fight back,” said Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who is in New York to attend the opening of the United Nations General Assembly.
“Terrorism is the embodiment of pure evil,” stressed the Israeli leader, while pledging, “We will act forcefully against terrorism; we will apprehend this terrorist and those who sent him.”
Police found the victim’s lifeless body on the ground after being alerted by frightened residents who heard her screaming during the deadly assault.
The Israel Security Agency (ISA, Shin Bet) and Police Special Patrol Unit immediately launched a manhunt for the assailant, who had fled the scene. He was quickly identified as as Musa Sarsur, 28, of the West Bank city of Qalqilya.
“It was a suspect whose identity is known to us,” Police Commissioner Yaakov “Kobi” Shabtai told reporters, adding that, “We are investigating his close circles in order to apprehend him.”
Sarsour’s photograph was released during an alert to the public while he remained at large.
The assailant entered the country via the Eyal Crossing near the nearby city of Kfar Saba yesterday morning, in possession of a valid permit to work at a construction site close to the home of his victim. He had not previously been determined to be a security threat.
Following an extensive search, the suspected killer’s body was discovered this morning in an apparent suicide. His body was discovered hanging on Bar Kochba Street near the center of Tel Aviv.
The latest attack comes amid a surge of Palestinian terror emanating from the West Bank.
Israel’s security establishment launched Operation Waves Breaker to root-out terror elements in the West Bank this past spring to counter a deadly surge of attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people between March and May 2022. Since that time, IDF, ISA and Border Police Special Operations forces have repeatedly come under attack during nightly raids while carrying out ongoing anti-terror activities throughout Judea and Samaria.
“Over the past several months, we have apprehended and thwarted more than a thousand terrorists,” said Defense Minister Benny Gantz earlier yesterday after conducting a situation assessment at the Judea and Samaria Division headquarters with Head of the Planning and Multi-Domain Force Build-Up Directorate Major General Yaakov Banjo, IDF Central Command Head Major General Yehuda Fox, and Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division Brigadier General Avi Bluth.
Jerusalem’s top defense official held a dialogue with commanders and soldiers serving in the area and conveyed his own personal appreciation as well as that of a grateful nation for their heroic operations.
“I emphasized that our troops have full freedom of action in counterterrorism activities and highlighted the need to operate in a determined, focused and responsible manner in facing complex security challenges,” said Minister Gantz, according to an Israeli Ministry of Defense statement, underscoring, “We will operate in a determined manner against terrorism, while preventing harm to the routine lives and economic activities of those who are innocent.”
He then added, “I would like to be clear: We will put our hands on anyone who rises to kill us – anytime and anywhere. The perpetrators of terrorism harm the Palestinian people, their livelihoods and the ability to promote their common interests. We will continue operating as deemed necessary.”