Heartbroken father whose daughters and wife were killed in terrorist attack in Israel says he is ‘stricken’ by devastating tragedy.
THE heartbroken father who lost his wife and two daughters in a terrorist attack in Israel says he is “haunted” by the tragedy.
Devastated Leo Dee has opened up about how “his family of seven is now a family of four” after his wife Lucy Dee, 48, and daughters Maia, 20, and 15-year-old Rina were shot dead on a trip to the Sea of Galilee For a holiday.
Rabbi Leo Dee said at a press conference in the West Bank’s Erfat Settlement that his daughters Rina and Maia were killed, their car was riddled with 22 Kalashnikov bullets and his wife Lucy was shot twice.
Lucy died in the hospital today.
He said at the press conference, which was broadcast by the BBC: “I hadn’t heard it ring, I hadn’t picked up the phone, the feeling that she called me during the attack and I couldn’t speak to her will come back and haunt me for a while.”
He said he saw a photo of his car with a bullet hole on Instagram with the family’s suitcases covered in blood and drove to the scene “like a madman”.
He said he was able to identify his daughter Maia at the scene after police produced her ID and then drove to the hospital where his wife had been taken.
He said: “I went deaf. I haven’t cried yet, I’ve been very rational.
“I drove another hour and a half to the hospital. Lucy had two bullets – one through the brainstem and one at the top of her spine.
“There was an operation. There was reason for hope. But unfortunately our family of seven is now a family of four.”
Rabbi Dee described his wife and daughters as “three beautiful innocent young ladies in the prime of their lives” and urged people to post pictures of the Israeli flag in their minds on social media.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the British Jewish community have sent their condolences to the family.
Mr Netanyahu wrote on Twitter: “On behalf of all citizens of Israel, I send my heartfelt condolences to the Dee family on the death of the family’s mother, the late Leah (Lucy), who was murdered in Israel’s severe attack on the Bekaa last Friday, together with their two daughters Maya and the late Rina.”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews wrote: “Our hearts go out to the Dee family at the terrible news that Lucy Dee has now also passed away following Friday’s Palestinian terrorist attack which killed two of her daughters, Maia and Rina. Memories are eternal blessings.”
Ms Dee, 45, was seriously injured in the attack on her car near an Israeli settlement in the West Bank on Friday and Monday. Israel‘s Hadassah Hospital announced that she had died, according to AP reports.
Rabbi Dee was formerly Chief Rabbi at Radlett United Synagogue in Hertfordshire and Deputy Rabbi at Hendon, north London.
The sisters were born in London and the family followed Israel in 2014, according to The Telegraph.
The Radlett United Synagogue told the PA news agency: “The Radlett Jewish community is devastated by the devastating news of the death of Rebbetzen Lucy Dee, in addition to the deaths of her and Rabbi Leo Dee’s daughters, Maia and Rina.
“The community greatly admired the inspirational Dee family during their time at Radlett. Lucy and her daughters were idealistic, pure and kind.
“We and the world have been stripped of their presence, but their light can never be extinguished. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Rabbi Leo and his children Keren, Tali and Yehudah.”
According to the settlement’s mayor, Oded Revivi, the family lived in the settlement of Efrat, near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.
The three family members were among six people involved in the attack by Palestinian attackers.
The family was in one of three cars en route to Tiberias in Galilee for a family vacation.
In footage from Sunday’s funeral, broadcast on Sky News, Rabbi Dee said: “Maia and Rina, you loved us, you inspired us and we will love you forever.
“May your souls be bound in the bond of eternal life.
“And may we and no one else in the world ever experience so much suffering.”
The tragic news of Lucy’s death in hospital was confirmed earlier today by Hadassah-University Medical Center, which said: “Teams have been fighting for her life over the past few days, in the trauma ward, in the operating room and in the intensive care unit where she was being treated.” .
The hospital said she “sadly passed away despite intense and unremitting efforts due to her fatal injury.”
Police reported that the vehicle the family was traveling in had been sprayed with assault rifle bullets, leaving blood splattered on the windshield.