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Israeli woman found dead near West Bank settlement

Israeli woman found dead near West Bank settlement

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police were investigating on Monday after an Israeli woman was found dead in a forest near a West Bank settlement.

Police searched the forest near the settlement of Tal Menashe after her family reported her disappearance on Sunday. They said in a statement that the body was found with signs of violence.

Israeli media identified the deceased as Esther Horgen, 52, a mother of six from Tal Menashe.

The cause of death was not immediately clear, and police issued a gag order on all details of the investigation. Settler leaders said Horgen was killed in a Palestinian attack.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz wrote on Twitter that her death was “a despicable murder” and said Israeli forces were working to apprehend those responsible.

Nearly 500,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 war. The Palestinians want the West Bank to be part of their future state and view the settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace, a position shared by much of the international community.