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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Caroline Davies and agency

Funeral takes place for British-Israeli sisters killed in West Bank

People grieve at the funeral on Sunday of Maia and Rina Dee at a cemetery in Kfar Etzion in the Israeli-occupied West Bank
People grieve at the funeral on Sunday of Maia and Rina Dee at a cemetery in Kfar Etzion in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Photograph: Nir Elias/Reuters

Hundreds of mourners have attended the funeral of two British-Israeli sisters killed in a shooting in the occupied West Bank.

Maia and Rina Dee were killed on Friday in the north of the Jordan Valley as they drove to Tiberias for a family holiday. Their mother, Lucianne, 45, remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Their father, Rabbi Leo Dee, embraced their bodies while mourners sang songs of grief at their packed funeral on Sunday, the BBC reported.

Maia was 20 and volunteering for national service in a high school, while Rina was 15, according to reports. Their car was driven off the road after being shot at by gunmen in an incident which has been described as a terror attack. Their father had been driving ahead in a separate vehicle.

Speaking to the BBC he described his daughters as beautiful, smart and popular. Maia was “wonderful, beautiful, had a lot of friends ... she was very keen to do a second year of volunteering”. Rina, he said, was “beautiful, fun, very smart, top grades in every subject, very popular with friends, sporty ... very responsible”.

The family live in the West Bank settlement Efrat, near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, having reportedly moved from London eight years ago. The funeral was held at the nearby settlement of Kfar Etzion.

In footage from the funeral, broadcast on Sky News, Rabbi Dee asked: “How will I explain to Lucy what has happened to our two precious gifts?”

Rina and Maia Dee
Rina and Maia Dee. Composite: Courtesy of the family

During an emotional speech, he said: “Maia and Rina, you have loved us, you have inspired us, and in turn we will love you forever. May your souls be bound in the bond of eternal life. And may we, and no one else in the world, ever know so much sorrow.”

The rabbi, who served in synagogues in Hendon, London, and Radlett, Hertfordshire, said he was proud of his three remaining children. “We are a smaller family but we are stronger from it and we will get through this,” he said.

The attack came after Israel launched retaliatory airstrikes on Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Tensions have been heightened by police raids at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque during the rare convergence of Ramadan, Passover and Easter.

Settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal under international law, which Israel disputes.

Hours after the sisters were killed an Italian tourist was killed when a car ploughed into a group in a shoreline park in Tel Aviv. Britons were said to be among five people injured in the attack.

On Saturday Israeli troops shot dead a 20-year-old Palestinian man in the West Bank, news agency AFP reported. The army said soldiers shot at suspects who threw an “explosive device” towards them, while the Palestinian health ministry said the man suffered bullet wounds to the chest and abdomen. Hundreds turned out to attend his funeral on Sunday.

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