Tragedy in Jerusalem: Mother and 4 daughters die in suspected murder-suicide

Jerusalem residents are coping with the shock of an apparent homicide/suicide incident involving a mother and her four daughters.

Police are investigating the death of five family members, a mother and her four young daughters, who lost their lives in an apparent murder-suicide in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Firefighters were alerted to an apartment fire in the capital, where they found the bodies of the victims.

The mother, in her 30s, emigrated from France 13 years ago. She apparently hanged herself after setting a locked room on fire, killing her four daughters, ranging from 11 months to 11 years of age, in a fifth-floor apartment.

Police have yet to determine the mother’s motive. She was not known to Jerusalem’s social services, but recently began to receive psychiatric treatment.

ZAKA’s body recovery unit was called to the scene. Even the most experienced volunteers, accustomed to witnessing tragedies, were shocked.

“I was reminded of the scenes at the Sbarro restaurant,” noted Natan Koenig, a 20-year veteran volunteer, referring to the 2001 suicide bombing attack in the capital. “The scene, burned bodies of children, the smell in the air, the difficult scene took me back all those years to the Sbarro restaurant.”

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Having waited several hours for police to complete forensic investigations, the ZAKA volunteers were finally allowed into the apartment, where they carried out their sacred work of honoring the dead amid horrific circumstances.

With tears in his eyes, ZAKA Jerusalem Commander Bentzi Oering carried the body of the two-year-old in his arms. Oering, who has witnessed countless horrific terror attacks and other gruesome incidents in the capital over decades, could not hold back the tears and collapsed into the arms of his son, Yechiel Oering, who is also a ZAKA Jerusalem volunteer.

“This is the most shocking scene,” recounted ZAKA Jerusalem volunteer Shalom Klein. “I arrived at the scene of the fire and the neighbors brought me to the apartment balcony. The mother was dead. Her four children were burned to death. The sights at the scene were very hard. Despite my many years of volunteering at ZAKA, this is one of the most difficult and cruel scenes I have ever witnessed.”

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News