image Photo: Flash90

Terrorists kill 4 in Israel

The surge of Palestinian terror attacks continues to murder civilians in Israel.                                                

By Erin Viner

Gunmen opened fire at short range on a dual Israeli-British family during a Passover holiday trip at the Hamra Junction in the Jordan Valley on Friday morning. The terror cell then fled westward toward the Palestinian city of Nablus.

Rina, 15, and her sister Maia Dee, 20, were killed on the spot. Their mother Leah “Lucy,” 48, was evacuated in critical condition by military helicopter to a Jerusalem hospital, where passed away last night despite efforts to treat her injuries.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant arrived at the scene of the heinous attack for a situational assessment.

In the immediate aftermath of the terror attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “At this moment our forces are acting in the field in a ‘hot manhunt’ after the terrorists. It is only a matter of time, and not much time, that we will settle scores with them in the same manner in which we settled scores with all the murderers (terrorists) in the past several months.”

The Israeli leader was among the first to express sadness last night following the death of Mrs. Dee. Also extending condolences, President Isaac Herzog said in a statement. “How much we hoped, how much we prayed, but tragically Leah, mother of Rina and Maia of blessed memory, who was fatally wounded in the terror attack in the Jordan Valley, has died of her injuries. On behalf of the entire people of Israel, I send my warmest condolences to the Dee family and pray that they will know no more sorrow. May her memory be a blessing.”

The Hadassah Medical Center expressed sorrow “that despite our relentless efforts, and due to her extensive injuries, we had to declare her (Leah’s) death,” adding that, “Her organs were donated by her family to assist others in need.”

The victims were survived by the father Rabbi Leo Dee and three siblings, residents of the Judean mountain community of Efrat.

During a tearful eulogy for his daughters in a room of weeping mourners on Sunday, Rabbi Dee evoked the Passover holiday now being celebrated and the story of the biblical Exodus of Jews from slavery in Egypt to freedom.

“The journey to redemption is a slow one – three steps forward and two steps back. And Maia and Rina, with your loss, our world has taken two steps back,” he said, extending an arm in the direction of their bodies that lay covered in cloth. “You have inspired us, you’ve loved us, and in turn we will love you forever.”

Their sibling Keren lamented not being able to protect her younger sister. “I would do anything to have been in the car instead of you,” she said.

Security services continue to search for those responsible for the murders, including investigation of an abandoned car in Nablus that resembles security footage of the vehicle used during the attack.

“Our security forces work day in and day out, in order to ensure the security of our citizens,” said stated Defense Minister Gallant, underscoring that “any terrorist who thinks they may elude the IDF during the holy days, is gravely mistaken. Anyone who attempts even the slightest harm, will be brought to justice.”

According to a Defense Ministry statement obtained by TV7, General Gallant completed a tour of the Menashe division in northern Samaria, together with the relevant commanders in the region; where he was briefed on the troops’ operational activities and held an open discussion with the soldiers and officers stationed in the area. The briefing focused on counterterrorism activities, the search for the terrorists who conducted attacks in the region, and the need to contend with infiltration attempts.

“No one will escape,” stressed Jerusalem’s top defense official, vowing, “we will settle accounts and bring them to justice.”

Minister Gallant later briefed his American counterpart on the recent wave of terror attacks in Israel, and the missiles fired by Palestinian terror groups from both Gaza and Lebanese territory, with the backing of Iran.

He detailed the ongoing efforts of the defense establishment to thwart terrorism and respond effectively to any threat toward Israeli citizens and troops; while also addressing ongoing efforts to enable freedom of prayer at the Temple Mount, which he told United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been “hijacked by groups of extreme rioters.”

He concluded by thanking Secretary Austin for his friendship and partnership and solidarity with Israel’s right to defend itself.

In contrast, Hamas Spokesman Abdel-Latif Al-Qanoua hailed the fatal shootings of the Dee family as “an heroic operation,” claiming it came as part of “united resistance by the Palestinian people.”

Just hours after the Dee murders, an Italian tourist was killed and seven people were wounded in a car-ramming attack on the seaside promenade in Tel Aviv.

Security camera footage shows Yousef Abu Jaber, 45, an Arab Israeli from the nearby city of Kafr Qassem, speeding into a bicycle lane in a “clear” manner to run over the pedestrians, said Tel Aviv police chief Amichai Eshed. He was shot and killed by a police officer who rushed to the scene while exiting his overturned car and reached for a firearm that later turned out to be a toy gun, law enforcement sources later told local media.

Victims included a 17-year-old girl, 74-year-old man and a 39-year-old man who sustained moderate injuries in the attack, while a 50-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman were also lightly injured.

Alessandro Parini, 35, was a lawyer visiting from Rome. Hospital officials said the wounded victims were also tourists from Italy and the United Kingdom.

“Deep sorrow and condolences for the death of one of our nationals, Alessandro Parini, in the terrorist attack that took place in the evening in Tel Aviv. Condolences to the victim’s family, to the wounded, and solidarity with the State of Israel for the cowardly attack that hit him,” Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni wrote in a message posted on Twitter, adding that her government is in contact with Israeli authorities about the welfare of the wounded Italian victims.

“On behalf of the government and the people of Israel, I send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Alessandro Farini, the Italian citizen who was murdered in yesterday’s terror attack in Tel Aviv, and to the government and the people of Italy,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

Also condemning the attacks, US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel saying that the US “stands with the government and people of Israel.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu said relations with the United States, which appeared strained over the government’s planned judicial overhaul, remained “stronger than ever” and the two countries enjoyed security and intelligence cooperation.

Three IDF soldiers were also injured in a separate car-ramming attack on Saturday, and two other troops hurt in different shooting attacks last week. Two additional soldiers were injured, one seriously, in a Palestinian stabbing attack near the Tzrifin military base in central Israel.

Friday’s terror attacks came in the wake of cross-border strikes in Gaza and Lebanon, adding to escalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions following Israeli police raids in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque this week.

The rising hostilities threatened to widen when Israel responded to a barrage of rockets by hitting targets linked to the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza and southern Lebanon, but the fighting entered a lull on Friday.

In related developments, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced yesterday that he has nullified his earlier firing of Defense Minister Gallant due to the escalating security crisis, reversing last week’s decision that triggered protests and raised alarm abroad.

He said the two had resolved their disagreement over Gallant’s public call last month for a halt to the government’s bitterly divisive judicial overhaul plan, which Gallant said had become a threat to Israel’s security.

“I’ve decided to put our differences behind us,” Netanyahu said at a Monday press conference. He said the two had worked closely together throughout the last two weeks.