Israeli defense officials were increasingly certain Monday that the brutal murder of a woman found near her West Bank settlement was a terror attack and expected arrests to be made in the near future.
The body of Esther Horgan, a 52-year-old mother of six, was found in a forest near her home in the early hours of Monday, after she was killed in a violent attack that left her skull broken.
Horgan left her home on Tal Menashe on Sunday afternoon for a jog in a nearby forest and did not return, prompting her husband to contact the authorities.
Security forces launched a manhunt Monday morning in an effort to find the perpetrator.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the murder, vowing Israel would hunt down her killers.
"Esther Horgan was brutally murdered when she went for a run near her home. The security forces will apprehend the murderer as fast as possible and bring them to justice. I would like to send deep condolences to the family," Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.
Horgan's neighbor Silvie Ovadia, who participated in the search for the missing woman, said the searches for her began around 2pm Sunday and lasted into the night.
"The whole community went out at night to look for her," Ovadia said. "It was clear that something wasn't right, that something bad had happened."
She added that Horgan was "a very good, very responsible woman. If you asked her for anything she would always make it happen. She was a very gentle, a class act."
Horgan's relative Haim Feldman told Ynet that it took her family a while to realize that something awful might have happened to her.
"She's used to walking a lot here in the area, sometimes with a friend, sometimes by herself," he said.
"No one else was home either, so it took a long time until it became clear that she was actually missing."
He added: "She was a joyful woman, full of life, not afraid of anything. She was very cruelly taken from us by wild animals."
Defense Minister Benny Gantz also vowed that Israel would track down those responsible for her murder.
"Israel’s security forces are working to find the despicable murderer and take him promptly into custody," he said. "We will never accept a reality in which human life becomes dispensable.”