Mother of British Israeli sisters killed in drive-by shooting dies day after their funeral

Lucy Dee, 48, dies in hospital after gun attack on cars travelling to the Galilee for family holiday

Andy Gregory
Tuesday 11 April 2023 06:27 BST
Funeral held Sunday for sisters killed in terror attack

The mother of two Israeli sisters killed in a gun attack in the occupied West Bank has died of her wounds, hospital officials have said.

Maia and Rina Dee, aged 20 and 15, who were also British citizens, were killed on Friday when their car was shot at by a suspected Palestinian gunman. Their mother was travelling with them and was critically wounded.

Authorities in Israel are still searching for the assailant.

Lucy Dee was severely injured during the attack in which two of her daughters were also killed ( Family handout)

Hundreds of people attended the funeral for the two sisters, as they were buried following an emotional ceremony in the Jewish settlement of Kfar Etzion on Sunday. Among the mourners was Israel’s national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

“May we and no one else in the whole world ever know so much sorrow,” said the victims’ father, Lee Dee, a rabbi at the Zait Ranaan synagogue in Efrat. “Today the Jewish people have proven we are one,” he added. “A simple, quiet family is devastated. The whole country hurts.”

His 48-year-old wife, Lucy, received surgery and had been in a critical condition in hospital since the attack in Jordan Valley.

“Forty-eight-year-old Lucy Dee was evacuated by helicopter to Hadassah Ein Kerem in critical condition, where the teams fought for her life over the past few days, in the trauma unit, the operating room and the intensive care unit where she was treated,” the hospital said in a statement reported by the Jerusalem Post.

“Unfortunately, despite intensive and unceasing efforts, due to her fatal injury, the team had to determine her death today.”

Rina and Maia Dee were killed in the West Bank on Friday (Office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu/PA Wire )
Friends and family of Maia and Rina Dee carry a coffin during their funerals (Reuters/Nir Elias)

Her daughters were reportedly born in London, before the family moved to Israel in 2014, where they lived in the Efrat settlement, near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.

The three family members were among six people caught up in the attack as they travelled in one of three cars on their way to Tiberias in Galilee for a family holiday. The car crashed after being shot at, before being fired at again at close range, local media reported.

Mr Dee, who was in a car in front of them, told the BBC that he heard news of the attack without realising his own family were involved. He only found out when they did not answer their phones and he drove back to the scene, where he was shown his daughter’s ID card.

Tensions have soared and violence flared after an Israeli police raid on Palestinians last week at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, a site sacred in Judaism and Islam, ahead of the rare overlap of Passover and Ramadan.

The incident prompted militants in Lebanon, and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, to fire a barrage of rockets into Israel on Friday, which responded with strikes on sites allegedly linked to the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza and southern Lebanon.

A 15-year-old boy named Mohammed Balhan was killed by Israeli fire near Jericho during an army raid at the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp on Monday, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Palestinian mourners cry after taking the last look at the body of Mohammad Balhan during his funeral on Monday (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

The army said it entered the camp to arrest a wanted Palestinian suspect, and claimed that residents opened fire and hurled explosives at the troops, who responded with live fire and “hits were identified”. It said the wanted suspect was arrested, and there were no Israeli casualties.

It came as thousands of ultranationalist Israelis – led by at least seven cabinet ministers – marched to Eviatar, an unauthorised settlement in the West Bank which was evacuated by the Israeli government in 2021, in a defiant signal that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is determined to accelerate building on occupied lands.

Israeli settlers walk around the outpost of Eviatar on Monday (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Thousands of hardline settlers gather in Eviatar on Monday (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

In addition to the attack that killed Dee and her two daughters, a suspected car-ramming in Tel Aviv on Friday left an Italian tourist dead and seven others injured, including three Britons.

Following the attacks, Israel police commissioner Kobi Shabtai told all Israelis with firearms licences to start carrying their weapons.

Mr Netanyahu and Israel’s president Isaac Herzog both expressed their sympathy on Monday, with the former tweeting: “On behalf of all the citizens of Israel, I send my heartfelt condolences to the Dee family on the death of the mother of the family, the late Leah (Lucy), who was murdered in the severe attack in the Bekaa last Friday, along with her two daughters Maya and the late Rina.”

Mr Herzog said: “I send my deepest condolences to the Dee family and pray that they will know no more sorrow. May her memory be blessed.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, which said that Mr Dee had previously been rabbi at Radlett United Synagogue in Hertfordshire, said the community’s “hearts go out” to his family.

“Our community, alongside Jewish communities around the world, mourns their loss. May their memories be for eternal blessing,” the group said.

Additional reporting by agencies

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