An extensive manhunt is underway in Israel for the suspected terrorist murder of a 52-year-old woman.
The body of Esther Horgan, a mother of six, was reportedly discovered in the Reihan Forest in the northern part of the West Bank at 2 AM this morning.
Although a court-issued gag order has been imposed on the the identities of any suspects or any other details of the investigation, it is known that the victim was a resident of the Tal Menashe settlement in the Samarian hills on the northwestern edge of the West Bank.
Horgan was declared dead at the scene by paramedics, the police said that crime scene investigators immediately began the collection of evidence.
The victim was filmed setting off on a run by security cameras along the perimeter of her community yesterday afternoon, and a search was launched by police after being notified by her husband that she had failed to return home.
Security services say Horgan’s body bore clear signs of a violent attack. The Israeli police and Shin Bet security agency are taking part in the investigation on suspicion the killing was terror-related, although they said that “all directions” are being explored.
Horgan was described in a statement released by the Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan as “full of goodness.” He noted that had been killed “just a minute from her home” during a sports activity.
Israel’s Kan public broadcaster cited Dagan of accusing “Palestinian barbarians” for responsibility for the murder while vowing they would “never break us,” while reporting that the Samaria Regional Council said the victim’s skull had been “crushed” in a terror attack.
Alternate Premier and Defense Minister Benny Gantz posted a message on Twitter, reading: “I send my deepest sympathies to the Horgan family on the horrific murder of Esther, of blessed memory. Israel’s security forces are working to find the despicable murderer and take him promptly into custody. We will never accept a reality in which human life becomes dispensable.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also issued a statement, saying: “This is a hard, heart-breaking morning with news of the cruel murder of Esther Horgan, who left her house yesterday añd did not return. A full life of wonderful works, of home and family, of creativity and care have been cut short by a beast in human guise. I have full faith that our security forces will get to the despicable murders and that justice will be done. I embrace Esther’s family, her children and their father. We are with you in this time of such deep grief.”