The woman sustained multiple stab wounds, including in her head. Paremedics at the scene tried to revive her, but she succumbed to her injuries.
Residents were instructed to stay in their homes and lock their doors and windows
Otniel is located south of Chevron.
Security forces are searching the area for the knife-wielding assailant, who fled shortly after the 5:30 p.m. attack, allegedly in the direction of a Palestinian town. Forces have launched a large search of the area and set up roadblocks.
The woman was about 40 years old, according to Army Radio.
UPDATE, 7:12 p.m. IL: The woman, who was 38, has been named as Dafna Mayer Hy”d.
The army said in a statement that the attacker broke into the Mayer home and stabbed Dafna to death. According to the initial investigation, Dafna struggled with the terrorist in the entrance to the home.
The Mayer children were reportedly in the home at the time of the attack, according to Channel 2 news.
The attacker was believed to have fled to the nearby Arab village of Khirbet Karme, located just north of Otniel.
UPDATE, 7:45 P.M. IL: Mrs. Mayer’s 15-year-old daughter witnessed the attack and then notified police. She was one of three children home during the stabbing.
UPDATE, 8:15 P.M. IL: Dafna was a nurse. She had four children of her own and was the foster parent of two children.
Dafna worked at Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva and was also a pre-marital counselor for kallahs.
UPDATE, 8:15 P.M. IL: Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has issued a statement in reaction to the attack.
“Dafna Meir, mother of six, was brutally murdered this evening by a Palestinian terrorist inside her home in Otniel,” Netanyahu wrote on Facebook. “In the name of all Israelis, I want to give strength to all the children of the family. All of us are hurting and share in the painful grief. We will find the terrorist, and he will pay the full price for this heinous murder.”