- Written by Ben Morris and Lucy Williamson
- BBC News
Two British sisters of Israeli descent, Maya and Rina D, were killed in a shooting incident in the occupied West Bank.
The two sisters were killed on Friday afternoon near the Hamra junction, north of the Jordan Valley, while they were on their way to Tiberias.
They were the children of Rabbi Leo Dee, of London, who described the deaths as a “nightmare”.
Their mother, Leah, remains in a critical condition in hospital.
Maya was 20 years old and volunteering for national service at a high school, while younger sister Rina was 15.
Their car ran off the road after gunmen shot at them while their father was driving in a separate car. Rabbi Dee heard the news of the attack before realizing his family was involved.
Speaking to the BBC, he described his daughters as “beautiful and wonderful” and said he had not been able to sleep since their deaths.
He said, “Every time I had nightmares and woke up, but the reality was worse than the nightmare, so I went back to sleep. That’s how it went.”
The village mayor said the family lives in the West Bank settlement of Efrat. The sisters’ funeral will be held on Sunday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who described the incident as a terrorist attack, sent his condolences to the family in a tweet mentioning the names of the two sisters.
The UK’s chief rabbi, Sir Ephraim Mirvis, said that “no words can describe the depth of our shock and grief at the heartbreaking news”.
Writing on Twitter, he said the two sisters are the children of British Rabbi Dee and his wife Lucy, which is understood to be their mother’s name, Leah, in English.
He added, “They were much loved in the Hendon and Radlett communities in the UK as well as in Israel and abroad.”
The Council of Deputies of British Jews said they were “deeply shocked and saddened” by their passing, adding that their father was previously a rabbi at Radlett United Synagogue in Hertfordshire.
Secretary of State James Cleverly said on Friday that he had spoken to his Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, in the aftermath of the attacks and that anyone concerned about friends or relatives in Israel should contact the State Department.
On Friday, an Italian tourist was killed and seven others wounded, including three Britons, in a suspected car-ramming attack in Tel Aviv.
The military said the strikes were in response to a barrage of 34 rockets fired from Lebanon into northern Israel on Thursday, which it blamed on the group.
This missile strike from Lebanon came two nights after the Israeli police raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, sparking outrage throughout the region.
Hamas did not claim responsibility for the shooting of the two British women, but praised it and described it as a “natural response to it”. [Israel’s] His ongoing crimes against Al-Aqsa Mosque and his barbaric aggression against Lebanon and the steadfastness of Gaza.”
After the sisters were shot, the Israeli police commissioner, Kobi Shabtai, called on all Israelis with firearms licenses to begin carrying their weapons.
Responding to the news of the sisters’ deaths on Friday, the UK Foreign Office said: “We are saddened to hear of the killing of two British Israeli citizens and the serious injury of a third person.”
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