Israel says it killed Palestinian gunmen who shot dead British-Israelis
Israeli security forces say they have killed two Palestinian militants accused of shooting dead a British-Israeli woman and her two daughters in the occupied West Bank last month.
A third militant who allegedly aided the pair was also killed during the raid in the city of Nablus.Several Palestinians were also injured in confrontations with the troops.
Lucy Dee, 48, and her daughters Rina, 15, and Maia, 20, were killed in an attack in the Jordan Valley on 7 April.
They were travelling to an event for the Passover holiday when gunmen opened fire at their car near the settlement of Hamra, 16km (10 miles) west of Nablus.
Their car crashed and the gunmen fired again at close range.
Rina and Maia died at the scene, while Lucy died in hospital three days later.
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In Thursday’s early morning raid in Nablus, more than 200 Israeli soldiers raided the Old City, using shoulder-mounted anti-tank missiles and stun grenades fired from drones.
Residents said there were explosions as people were preparing to go to work, while confrontations erupted in the streets.
Palestinian paramedics said Israeli troops prevented them reaching the scene by firing rubber bullets at them.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said troops targeted an apartment where the “murderers of Leah [Lucy’s Hebrew name], Maia and Rina Dee” were hiding.
It identified them as Hassan Qatanani and Moaz Masri and said they were members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
The two men were killed in an exchange of fire along with a senior Hamas operative who helped them escape the scene of last month’s attack, the IDF added, naming him as Ibrahim Jabr. It also said three assault rifles were found inside the apartment.
The Palestinian health ministry said three Palestinians had died but that it was not immediately able to identify two of them due to the severity of their injuries.
Hamas’s military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, later confirmed that Qatanani, Masri and Jabr belonged to the group and that they were behind the attack that killed Lucy Dee and her daughters.
Green Hamas flags were carried by mourners at the men’s funerals, which hundreds of people attended.
Rabbi Leo Dee, Lucy’s husband, said in a statement that he and their three surviving children 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,” he added.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, praised its security forces for showing that attackers would eventually be found and “pay the price”.
“Our message to those who harm us, and those who want to harm us, is that whether it takes a day, a week or a month – you can be certain that we will settle accounts with you,” he said.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh condemned the deadly raid in Nablus and said he held the Israeli government responsible for “these crimes against Palestinian people”, according to the Wafa news agency.
The centre of Nablus has become a holdout for the militant group the Lion’s Den, and has seen frequent raids by Israeli forces over the last year, killing civilians and militants, as a wave of deadly Palestinian attacks targeting Israelis has continued.
In a separate incident on Thursday just to the south of Nablus, a Palestinian woman stabbed and lightly wounded an Israeli soldier in the village of Huwara, the IDF said. The woman was then “neutralised” by the soldier and a second who was nearby, it added.
The Palestinian health ministry said the woman, whom it named as Iman Odeh, was shot in the chest and died of her injuries after being taken to hospital.
Since the start of this year, more than 100 Palestinians – militants and civilians – have been killed by Israeli forces. Eighteen Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian – all civilians, except for a paramilitary border police officer – have been also killed in attacks by Palestinians and, in one case, an Israeli Arab.
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