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Spiral of grief and death follows killing of Israeli sisters in the West Bank


“Then I saw a missed call from Maia at 10:52. I hadn’t noticed it ring, I had not picked up the phone. The feeling that she called me during the attack, and I wasn’t able to speak to her, will come back and haunt me for a while,” he said.

As with so much else in the region, the Dees’ deaths quickly became a political rallying cry.

Far-right Israeli politicians, including Itamar Ben-Gvir, the minister of national security who has been convicted of incitement to racism and support for a terrorist organization, and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who has advocated segregating Jews and Arabs in maternity wards, attended Maia and Rina’s memorial with their wives.

Visiting the scene of the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the shooters as “vile and heartless terrorists,” and promised to hold them accountable.

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas praised the attack, but stopped short of claiming responsibility.

The cycle of pain and death persisted into the weekend, when an Italian tourist was killed in a car-ramming attack. On Monday, at Aqabat Jaber, a refugee camp some 30 miles northeast of Kfar Etzion, near Jericho in the West Bank, a 17-year-old boy, Mohammad Balhan, was killed by Israeli army gunfire during a raid, according to Palestinian officials.

« I had just left my house when I saw military forces and people throwing stones, » said the boy’s father, Fayez Balhan. « I stopped the car and got out. I saw one person get shot. »

“We walked further ahead and saw a boy lying on the ground. I approached him … and realized that it’s my son,” Balhan added.

In a statement, the Israeli military said its soldiers were trying to apprehend a terror suspect when Mohammad Balhan was killed. They fired at the suspects with bullets, explosive devices and Molotov cocktails, they said. One person was arrested.


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