ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 145

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Visiting grieving family, general vows to catch terrorists who killed mom, daughters

Week after deadly attack, Central Command chief says military failed in mission to protect women; Rabbi Leo Dee urges him not to put soldiers’ lives at risk for manhunt

Michael Horovitz is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel

Rabbi Leo Dee (left) talks with OC Central Command Yehuda Fox at his home in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, April 14, 2023. (Efrat Municipality spokesperson)
Rabbi Leo Dee (left) talks with OC Central Command Yehuda Fox at his home in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, April 14, 2023. (Efrat Municipality spokesperson)

The commander of army forces in the West Bank offered his condolences to the bereaved Dee family at their home in Efrat on Friday, after the deaths of sisters Maia and Rina and their mother Lucy in a deadly terror shooting last week.

Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox, head of the Israel Defense Forces Central Command, told widower Rabbi Leo Dee that the army had failed in its mission to defend the three and vowed that it will “not rest until we catch the killers.”

The IDF launched a manhunt for the gunmen who fled the scene of the attack, but as of Saturday, they remained at large.

“It didn’t even occur to us to blame the IDF, I know you’re doing everything you can,” Dee replied to Fox. “One thing we wouldn’t request, we don’t want you to put any lives of Israeli soldiers at risk in order to catch these people.”

“So if it takes a bit longer, and if it requires other ways of dealing with it, we’re not in a hurry. Find a way that keeps Jewish lives safe,” he added.

Fox also thanked Rabbi Dee for his “extraordinary” response to the tragedy, in reference to the rabbi’s calls for solidarity. Jews around the world answered his call to post Israeli flags on their social media pages as a sign of unity.

From left: Lucy Dee is seen with her daughters Rina and Maia. The two sisters were shot dead in a terrorist attack in the West Bank on April 7, 2023. Their mother, critically hurt in the attack, died on April 10, 2023. (Courtesy)

Thousands of mourners gathered with the Dee family for the funeral of Lucy Dee on Tuesday, less than 48 hours after they buried her two daughters Maia and Rina. The family, who immigrated from the UK nine years ago, holds dual citizenship.

A range of politicians, including President Isaac Herzog, paid condolence visits to the Dee’s home on Thursday.

In last Friday’s attack, near the settlement of Hamra, Palestinian gunmen opened fire at the victims’ car, causing it to crash on the highway’s shoulder. The terrorists then opened fire at the car again, killing the two sisters and critically wounding their mother.

Lucy died of her injuries in the hospital on Monday.

Security forces at the scene of a deadly terror attack in the Northern Jordan Valley, April 7, 2023. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

Surveillance camera footage of the attack showed the terrorists driving up to the victims’ car, with one man opening fire from the passenger seat.

The car with the gunmen then made a U-turn on the highway and fled the scene toward Nablus.

Several hours after the deadly shooting, an Arab Israeli man drove his car into a group of tourists near a promenade in Tel Aviv, killing Italian national Alessandro Parini and wounding seven others.

Tensions last week spiked with a rocket attack from Syria on Saturday night, a barrage of rockets from Lebanon on Thursday, tit-for-tat rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and Israeli strikes over the past week, clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank, and a suspected Iranian drone launched from Syria last week.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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