Murder-suicide suspected in fatal Jerusalem fire

Evidence reveals Sunday's Jerusalem fire to be intentional murder-suicide by the mother.

Chana Roberts,

Fire in a building
Fire in a building
Israel Police

As investigations proceed, more and more evidence points to the source of Sunday's Jerusalem apartment fire as being an intentional murder-suicide by the mother.

The fire began in a sixth-floor apartment, and killed the family's four daughters, who ranged in age from 11 years to 11 months. The father was not home at the time, and is currently being treated by the psycho-trauma unit.

The family is reported to have immigrated to Israel from France 13 years ago, and was not known to local authorities or welfare services.

In a statement, the Jerusalem municipality reported the mother had called to inquire about babysitting services approximately three months before the fire. The municipality informed her they do not provide babysitting services, but invited her to come in and learn about the services they do offer. In addition, the mother is reported to have been receiving psychiatric treatment.

Neighbors report seeing the mother's body hanging on the balcony. After calling emergency services, they were advised to access the balcony and cut the rope holding the body up. However, they were not able to do so.

The neighbors also recall the family as being completely normal, with nothing to possibly arouse any suspicion.

Firefighters who arrived on the scene found the door locked. After breaking in, they found the children in critical condition, and both the children and fire contained in a single locked room. Authorities suspect the mother may have strangled the children before lighting the fire and hanging herself.

"We found her lying on the floor. The room that the children were in was completely burned and because it was closed, the flames used up the oxygen," a firefighter said.

"This is the most shocking scene. I arrived at the scene of the fire, and the neighbors brought me to the apartment balcony", ZAKA Jerusalem volunteer Shalom Klein said. "The mother was dead. Her four children were burned to death. ZAKA Jerusalem volunteers are dealing with the bodies and collecting the remains."

The children's bodies have been sent to the Abu Kabir forensic institute for examination.

The Jerusalem municipality has announced it will provide social workers and psychologists to both the neighbors and the girls' classmates.








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