Outpouring of grief at funeral of British-Israeli sisters, 15 and 20, killed in West Bank

Rabbi Leo Dee paid tribute to his "beautiful, smart and popular" girls, Rina and Maia, and doesn't know what to tell their mother, who remains in a coma, ITV News' Ellie Pitt reports

Hundreds of mourners sang and cried as two British-Israeli sisters killed in a shooting in the occupied West Bank were laid to rest today.

London-born Rina and Maia Dee, aged 15 and 20, were shot dead in an attack on their car near the Israeli settlement of Hamra in the Jordan Valley on Friday.

Their 45-year-old mother, Lucy, was seriously wounded and is now in a coma, while their father, Rabbi Leo Dee, witnessed the incident from a separate car following behind.

The family were on a family hiking trip at the time of the drive-by attack by Palestinian assailants on Friday, which came after Israel launched retaliatory air strikes at Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of people, including National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, attended today's funeral, which saw a huge outpouring of grief.

Maia and Rina were killed in a drive-by shooting in the occupied West Bank. Credit: PA

They were buried following an emotional ceremony in the Jewish settlement of Kfar Etzion in the West Bank.

As the two bodies were brought into the room, one of their sisters threw herself down and hugged the covered bodies. “May we and no one else in the whole world ever know so much sorrow. Amen,” said their father.

Speaking at the ceremony, Rabbi Dee, who has three other children, said: "Maia and Rina, who lie before us, you are now part of us all forever."

Paying tribute to his "beautiful and perfect" Maia, he said: "You were always an angel and now you will always be our guardian angel."

The two sisters were gunned down while out on a hiking trip with their family. Credit: AP

He added: "You wanted to sign up for another year of national service, where you could really make a difference. But mummy and I wanted you to start your studies and maybe meet a special boy. "But you insisted that girls like you always do two years of volunteering so we waited to see what and where this would be."

Paying his respects to Rina, Rabbi Leo said: "You were such a great student. Such a great friend. You dreamt of travelling the world, now you are travelling to heaven."

Expressing his hope that his wife would come out of her coma, he told the crowd: "How will I explain to Lucy what has happened to our two precious gifts?"

According to the Telegraph Rabbi Dee was formerly the senior rabbi at Radlett United Synagogue in Hertfordshire and assistant rabbi in Hendon, north London, before moving with his family to Israel in 2014.

The two sisters were buried as their mother, Lucy, remains in a coma in hospital. Credit: AP

In a statement shared with the Telegraph yesterday, he said the family was "saddened" by the current political situation in Israel.

“Some people think that a religious government will suppress minority rights and become totalitarian,” he said.

“But this is not a risk in Israel as religious Jews simply believe in balancing love and justice. For our part, we have felt a warm hug of love from Jews in Israel and beyond and we are confident that justice will be done.”

Late on Friday an Italian tourist was killed and five other Italian and British citizens were wounded when a car rammed a group in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.Tensions have been heightened by days of fighting at Jerusalem’s most holy site during the rare convergence of Ramadan, Passover and Easter.

Israeli warplanes and artillery struck targets in Syria following rare rocket fire from the northeastern neighbour.

Late on Saturday and early Sunday, Syrian militants fired rockets in two salvos toward Israel and the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights.

A Damascus-based Palestinian group loyal to the Syrian government claimed responsibility for the first round of rockets, saying it was retaliating for the Al-Aqsa raids. In the first salvo, one rocket landed in a field in the Golan Heights. Fragments of another destroyed missile fell into Jordanian territory near the Syrian border, Jordan’s military reported.

Mourners were united in grief at Sunday's ceremony in the Jewish settlement of Kfar Etzion. Credit: AP

In the second round, two of the rockets crossed the border into Israel, with one being intercepted and the second landing in an open area, the Israeli military said. Israel responded with artillery fire into the area in Syria from where the rockets were fired. Later, the military said Israeli fighter jets attacked Syrian army sites, including a compound of Syria’s 4th Division and radar and artillery posts.

Following the deaths of Rina and Maia Dee, the Foreign Office issued a statement, saying: “The UK calls for all parties across the region to de-escalate tensions."

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy said: “I am shocked by reports of the killing of two British sisters in an appalling and cowardly attack in the West Bank.

“My thoughts are with their family and loved ones. More civilian victims of this cycle of violence show the urgent need for diplomatic efforts to de-escalate.”

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