Reporting from Jerusalem — — A family of five Jewish settlers, including three children, was stabbed to death Friday night near the West Bank city of Nablus, ending a relative lull in deadly violence in the Palestinian territory.
Two other small children escaped harm by hiding as unknown attackers apparently sneaked into the family's home with a knife and killed the parents and children, ages 12, 3 and 3 months.
It was the deadliest such attack against Jewish settlers in the area since 2002.
Israeli military officials immediately declared the Itamar settlement and surrounding Palestinian villages to be a closed military zone, setting up roadblocks and launching a massive search for the attackers.
Israel Defense Forces Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi vowed to catch the "despicable, cowardly murderers who came in the dead of night and murdered children, a mother, a father. We are in pursuit of the perpetrators and I estimate we will get our hands on them before long."