Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plane landed in Washington on Tuesday, ahead of the start of direct peace talks.
During his flight, Netanyahu was updated on the details of the shooting attack
near Hebron, by his military secretary, Yohanan Locker. Sources from the PM's entourage told Ynet Israel had prepared for the possibility that terror elements may attempt to carry out attacks or fire missiles in an attempt to foil the direct negotiations.
Earlier, a close aide to Netanyahu stressed that "negotiations with the Palestinians will be held as scheduled."
However, the aide stressed that, "Israel's policy of response remains the same as it was in previous attacks. This means there will be a response, and the murderers will pay."
The attack's victims are residents of Beit Hagai - two men aged about 25 and 40, as well as two women of roughly the same ages, one of them pregnant.
"There were dozens of bullets at the scene. They were hit at close range, it looks like a well-planned ambush," a paramedic at the scene said.
The prime minister instructed security forces and the IDF to bring the terrorists to justice, one of his aides said, and he will "stress in the talks in Washington that this attack supports his unequivocal demands before any agreement – to reach definitions that will protect the law of the State of Israel
and the citizens of the State of Israel.
:Netanyahu plans to hold consultations on Israel's response as soon as he lands in Washington. In the meantime, he is in constant contact with the defense minister, the chief of staff, the Shin Bet chief and various security sources."
Defense Minister Ehud Barak
said in response to the attack that "the IDF and security services will do everything to get their hands on the murderers. Israel will not allow any terror element to raise its head and will exact the price from the murderers and those who sent them.
"This is an attempt by vile terrorist to hurt efforts to jumpstart the peace process and try to hurt the chances of the direct talks opening in Washington," he said.
Several settlers protested at the entrance to Kiryat Arba after the incident. They shouted, "Jewish blood must not be abandoned", "Expel the Arab enemy" and "Shame on the State of Israel – Jewish blood flows like water".
Yesha Council urged Netanyahu to return to Israel. The Council's Director-General Naftali Bennett told Ynet, "We learn that every gesture begets more terror and are hurting over the horrible murder of four Israelis.
"This is a massacre that is not meant to foil talks, but is a direct result of negotiations and talks of concessions. The prime minister, who cancelled his trip to the US due to the flotilla and death of the Turks, must now cancel his visit and be in Israel at the time of such a barbaric terror attack. While four funeral are taking place, the prime minister must not be taking part in phony parties with those who sent the killers."
Aviel Magnezi contributed to this report