11 Apr 2023

UK-Israeli mother dies after West Bank shooting

11:00 am on 11 April 2023
Lucy (left), Rina (centre) and Maia Dee were reportedly shot at close range after their car came under in the occupied West Bank.

Lucy (left), Rina (centre) and Maia Dee were reportedly shot at close range after their car came under fire. Photo: Supplied

By Raffi Berg

A British-Israeli woman has died after a suspected Palestinian gun attack on Friday, in which two of her daughters were also killed.

Lucy Dee, 45, had been in a coma since the attack in the occupied West Bank.

Her daughters Rina, 15, and Maia, 20, were buried on Sunday in the settlement of Kfar Etzion, with their father and three surviving siblings present.

The family moved to Israel nine years ago from the UK, where Lucy's husband, Leo, had served as a rabbi.

Thousands of mourners attended the emotionally charged funeral of the sisters, where Rabbi Dee eulogised them.

Mourners react during the funeral of British-Israeli sisters Rina and Maya Dee at the Kfar Etzion settlement cemetery in the occupied West Bank, on April 9, 2023. - On April 7, two British-Israeli sisters were killed, and their mother seriously wounded in a West Bank shooting attack, and Israel's army said it had launched a manhunt for the perpetrators. (Photo by Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

The two sisters were farewelled on Sunday while their mother, who has since died, remained in a coma. Photo: AFP / Menahem Kahana

Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem announced that Lucy (who was also known by her Hebrew name, Leah) Dee had died on Monday morning "despite great and constant efforts".

Speaking hours after his wife's death, Rabbi Dee said: "My beautiful wife, Lucy, and myself tried to raise our children with good values and to do good and bring more good into the world," calling the attack "pure evil".

"Alas, our family of seven is now a family of four", he said.

Lucy, Rina and Maia were shot at as they were driving in the Jordan Valley in the northern West Bank on their way to a family holiday. Their vehicle crashed and the gunmen went up to the car and opened fire on the women at close range, Israeli media quoted investigators as saying.

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

Rabbi Dee had been further ahead in a separate car when his sister called him with news of the attack.

He said he tried to call his wife and daughters but they did not answer. He then saw a missed call from Maia from the time of the attack.

He said another daughter who was with him saw a photo posted on Instagram by the driver of a car which passed the attacked car and they recognised one of their suitcases on the back seat of the vehicle.

The emergency services were already at the scene of the attack, near the settlement of Hamra, when he got there.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that he sent his "heartfelt condolences to the Dee family, on the death of the mother of the family, Leah (Lucy), who was murdered in the severe terror attack in the [Jordan] valley".

Radlett United Synagogue in Hertfordshire, to which the Dees had belonged, said the community was "devastated at the terrible news" of Lucy and her daughters' deaths.

"We and the world have been robbed of their presence, but their light can never be extinguished," it said in a statement.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) launched a hunt for the perpetrators following the attack, which came at a time of spiralling tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.