Two Palestinians accused of killing Lucy Dee and her daughters Maia and Rina in a shooting attack in the Jordan Valley last month were shot dead by Israeli troops Thursday morning in the West Bank city of Nablus along with a third Palestinian gunman.
In a joint statement, the Shin Bet security agency, Israel Police, and Israel Defense Forces said troops entered the Nablus Old City in order to arrest Hassan Qatnani and Moaz al-Masri, the Hamas terrorists who allegedly carried out the deadly attack on April 7.
Footage published by Palestinian media claimed to show undercover officers walking through the streets of the city, while dressed up as a group of Palestinian men and women.
Members of the police elite Yamam counter-terrorism unit surrounded the home where the two terrorists were believed to be hiding. The forces fired a shoulder-launched missile at it, according to Palestinian media, in a tactic known as a “pressure cooker,” to flush out wanted suspects.
Some reports also claimed a miniature drone flew into the building. A senior IDF officer confirmed that drones were used during the raid, but said they have been used in practically every recent similar operation in the West Bank.
Armed clashes took place around the home, and the two terrorists were killed along with another gunman, Ibrahim Jabr, who had aided them in hiding, the joint statement said.
⭕️فيديو يوثق لحظة تسلل القوات الخاصة إلى البلدة القديمة في نابلس صباح اليوم. pic.twitter.com/Kbt9Hr16nR
— إذاعة الأقصى – عاجل (@Alaqsavoice_Brk) May 4, 2023
Israeli forces also seized three assault rifles from inside, the statement added.
Palestinian media published footage of what they said were three bodies being retrieved from the home. The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry confirmed that three men were killed in the incident.
The three members of the Dee family were dual Israeli-British nationals who lived in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, just south of Jerusalem, after moving to Israel some eight years ago.
The Palestinian gunmen opened fire at the victims’ car near the settlement of Hamra in the northern Jordan Valley, as they were heading north on a trip to Tiberias on April 7. The vehicle crashed on the highway’s shoulder, and the terrorists then fired at the car again at close range. The daughters, 20-year-old Maia and 15-year-old Rina were declared dead at the scene, while Lucy, 48, was rushed to a hospital in critical condition but died three days later.
The vehicle apparently used by the terrorists was found by PA security forces in Nablus several days later.
A senior IDF Central Command officer told reporters that the operation on Thursday was carried out with “precision and professionalism,” leading to a quick raid with no injuries, despite it being nearly a month since the deadly attack.
Police publish footage of Yamam officers operating in Nablus this morning, during the raid that resulted in three Palestinian gunmen killed, among them the terrorists who killed three members of the Dee family. pic.twitter.com/mxzWKniQra
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) May 4, 2023
“We consider this matter very important, the time that passes from the moment of the attack to the elimination… the speed with which the incident is dealt with is what thwarts terrorism, so time is important,” the officer said.
“It is important for us to make it clear to the other side that there are no cities of refuge anywhere in [the West Bank]. Even places that they apparently think are safe — are not,” he said.
The officer noted that there has been an increase in intelligence alerts of potential terror attacks in recent weeks. “We need to make sure that the rate of thwarting [attacks] is higher than the rate of alerts,” he said.
“I have said in the past that we have the possibility of being able to carry out more significant operations in [the West Bank] and if it is necessary, we will go into action,” the officer added.
Leo Dee, the father of the family, said he thanked Israeli security forces for not risking soldiers’ lives when carrying out the raid.
He told Channel 12 that it was “a good thing” that the terrorists were dead, and the world was a safer place. He also said his family would have wanted to speak to the terrorists on live tv and ask them “what their vision was for the future of their people” and “what they had hoped to achieve” in killing his family.
Earlier, in a statement, Rabbi Dee said: “The kids and I were comforted to hear that the Israeli security forces have eliminated the Iranian-funded terrorists responsible for Lucy, Maia, and Rina’s murders. This has been done in a way that has not endangered the lives of Israeli soldiers, nor innocent Palestinian civilians — in a way that only the Israeli army knows how to do.”
“Furthermore we have asked for the opportunity to speak with the terrorists’ families and ask what good they thought would come out of their actions and to hear their vision for a better world,” he added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Israeli security forces for “settling the score” with the alleged killers.
“Our message to those who harm us and those trying to harm us is that it may take a day, a week or a month, but be sure that we’ll settle the score with you. It doesn’t matter where you try to hide, we’ll find you. Whoever harms us forfeits his life,” the premier said in a statement.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also hailed the Thursday morning operation in Nablus.
“I commend our security forces for eliminating the terror squad that carried out the heinous attack in Hamra, which took the lives of Lucy Dee, and her daughters Rina and Maia. Just as I promised Leo, the father of the family, the long arm of the defense establishment will reach any terrorist,” Gallant said on Twitter.
During the raid, a dog belonging to the Yamam unit was killed, a Border Police spokesman said. The seven-year-old Belgian Malinois, Django, was sent into the home that troops had surrounded in the Nablus Old City.
Palestinian media published images showing parts of the dog’s corpse after it was found in the home, indicating that it may have died in an explosion after Israeli forces reportedly launched missiles at the building. Police did not elaborate on how Django died.
According to police, Django participated in hundreds of Yamam operations in recent years.
Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the Israeli military conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks.
Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have killed 19 people since the beginning of the year and left several more seriously hurt.
At least 99 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.