British-Israeli sisters shot dead in West Bank car attack

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British-Israeli sisters shot dead in West Bank car attack

The sisters, aged 15 and 20 were on their way to a hiking trip when their car was shot at in the Jordan Valley, while their mother has been rushed to hospital in a critical condition

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Photo of car that drove the two sisters and their mother posted on Twitter
Photo of car that drove the two sisters and their mother posted on Twitter

Two British-Israeli sisters were killed and their mother critically wounded in a vehicle shooting in the Jordan Valley.

The sisters, aged 15 and 20, were in a car with their mother on the way to a hiking trip on Friday morning when they were shot at from an overtaking vehicle.

They died at the scene, and their mother was rushed to hospital in a critical condition after their car was shot at and rammed near the Hamra settlement, about 30 miles north of Jerusalem.

The three were residents of the Israeli settlement of Efrat, near Bethlehem, said Oded Revivi, the settlement’s mayor.

Israeli intelligence believe the attack was carried out by members of a Palestinian militant group based in the West Bank.

The UK Foreign Office said it was “saddened” by the news.

“We are saddened to hear about the deaths of two British-Israeli citizens and the serious injuries sustained by a third individual,” a statement said.

The Israeli military said its forces were blocking roads in the area and had “started a pursuit of the terrorists”.

Meanwhile, in a further incident on Friday evening, at least one Israeli died and several others were wounded, some seriously, in a shooting and car-ramming attack in Tel Aviv, close to the promenade.

Reports from Israel had revealed that the two sisters killed in the West Bank were the daughters of a British-born rabbi who was previously based in north London.

He was driving with two other children in a different car near to where the shooting took place on Friday morning.

The rabbi arrived at the scene to find his wife and daughters had been shot at.

His wife was airlifted to hospital in a “very critical condition” after the attack.

Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported that 22 bullet casings were found, apparently from a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

A volunteer medic with the United Hatzalah ambulance service said he rushed to the scene and found the three victims in a critical condition.

“Together with other first responders, I performed CPR on the injured in an attempt to save their lives,” Oded Shabbat said. “One injured person was transported by helicopter to the hospital for further care.”

The murdered sisters are set to be named on Saturday evening, according to a report in The Times.

Neil Wigan, the UK ambassador to Israel, tweeted he was “appalled by the attack in the Jordan Valley” adding “such terrorist attacks are unjustifiable and particularly shocking at what should be a joyful time for Jews, Muslims and Christians alike.”

David Lammy, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, later tweeted he was “shocked” at news of the killings, in an “appalling and cowardly attack in the West Bank.”

He said “civilian victims of this cycle of violence show the urgent need for diplomatic efforts to de-escalate.”

Former Conservative minister Nadhim Zahawi also tweeted:”British sister murdered in the jordan valley, murder in central Tel Aviv. Innocent souls taken in cold blood. These heinous crimes have to stop, militants want violence and bloodshed, it’s incumbent on all parties to condemn this violence.”

No organisation has yet claimed responsibility for the incident.

But Hamas spokesman Mohammed Hamada released a statement saying “the faithful of al-Aqsa have responded to the occupation’s aggression against Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem in a heroic attack in the Jordan Valley”.

Later on Friday night, it emerged that an Italian tourist Alessandro Parini was the person killed in the earlier Tel Aviv car-ramming incident close to the promenade.

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