Two British-Israeli women killed in West Bank shootingon April 7, 2023 at 5:47 pm

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The sisters were driving in a car in the Jordan Valley with their mother, who was seriously injured.

Israeli medics and police check a damaged car at the scene of a shooting attack in the Jordan Valley in the Israeli-occupied West Bank (7 April 2023)Image source, Reuters

Two Israeli women have been killed and another seriously injured in a shooting attack in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military and medics say.

The women were in a car that crashed after being shot at near the settlement of Hamra, in the Jordan Valley.

Local media reported the women who died were sisters in their 20s. The third woman, said to be their 48-year-old mother, is in a critical condition.

The military said its troops had “started a pursuit of the terrorists”.

The shooting took place hours after Israeli warplanes carried out air strikes in southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

The military said they were in retaliation for the biggest rocket attack on Israel launched from Lebanon for 17 years, which it blamed on the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The rocket barrage followed two nights of Israeli police raids at the al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem that caused anger across the region.

The Israel military said Friday’s incident in the Jordan Valley was initially reported as a collision between an Israeli car and a Palestinian car. But when troops arrived they found several bullet holes in the Israeli vehicle and determined that it was an 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 council of the settlement of Efrat, which is south of Jerusalem, said in a Facebook post that the three women were a mother and her two daughters who lived there. It added that it was not yet permitted to identify them.

Israeli media also cited the mayor, Oded Revivi, as saying that the sisters’ father had been driving ahead of them in another car when theirs was attacked. He reportedly turned around and arrived at the scene to find his wife and daughters being treated by paramedics.

The head of the Israeli military’s Central Command, which oversees the West Bank, called it an “extremely severe terrorist attack” and promised that its troops knew how to find those responsible.

“We are reinforcing forces in all sectors. We were unable to prevent this attack, but we will do everything we can to prevent the following attacks,” Maj-Gen Yehuda Fuchs added.

Israel Police commissioner Kobi Shabtai meanwhile called on all Israelis with firearms licences to start carrying their weapons.

“This is a murderous attack that reminds us how relevant the threat of terrorism in its various forms is,” he said.

Hamas did not claim it was behind the shooting but praised it as “a natural response to [Israel’s] ongoing crimes against the al-Aqsa mosque and its barbaric aggression against Lebanon and the steadfast Gaza”.

There has been an intensification of violence between Israel and the Palestinians since the start of this year.

More than 90 Palestinians – militants and civilians – have been killed by Israeli forces. If those behind Friday’s shooting are confirmed to be Palestinian, then 17 Israelis and a Ukrainian – all civilians, except for an Israeli paramilitary police officer – have been killed in Palestinian attacks.

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