Two Israeli sisters were killed and their mother wounded during a shooting in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli army said.
They were in a car that crashed after being shot at near Hamra Junction, in the northern Jordan Valley.
The mayor of Efrat said the sisters, who were in their 20s, and their 48-year-old mother lived there and were immigrants from the UK.
The Israeli military said its forces were blocking roads in the area and “began pursuing terrorists.”
The shooting came hours after Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes in southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
The military said it was in retaliation for Israel’s biggest rocket fire from Lebanon in 17 years, which it blamed on the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
The rocket fire followed two overnight raids by Israeli police on the Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, sparking anger across the region.
The Israeli military said Friday’s incident in the Jordan Valley was initially reported as a collision between an Israeli and a Palestinian vehicle. But when troops arrived, they found multiple bullet holes in the Israeli vehicle and determined it was an attack.
Israel’s public broadcaster Kan reported that 22 shell casings, believed to be from a Kalashnikov assault rifle, had been found.
A volunteer medic from United Hatzalah Ambulance Service said he rushed to the scene and found three victims in critical condition.
“Along with other first responders, I performed CPR on the wounded, trying to save their lives,” Oded Shabbat said. “One victim was taken by helicopter to the hospital for further treatment.”
The Efrat Local Council said on Facebook that the three women were a mother and two daughters who lived in the West Bank settlement, south of Jerusalem. He added that it is not yet allowed to identify them.
Ephrata Mayor Oded Revivi said the family were British immigrants originally from London and that they were on vacation in Tiberius, located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, when the attack occurred.
Israeli media also quoted Mr. Revivi as saying that the sisters’ father was driving ahead of them in another car when they were attacked. He reportedly turned around and arrived at the scene to find his wife and daughters being treated by medics.
The head of Israel’s Central Command, which controls the West Bank, called it an “extremely serious terrorist attack” and promised that his forces knew how to find those responsible.
“We are strengthening forces in all sectors. We were unable to prevent this attack, but we will do everything possible to prevent future attacks,” added Major General Yehuda Fuchs.
Meanwhile, Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai called on all Israelis with firearms licenses to start carrying their weapons.
“This is a deadly attack that reminds us how urgent the threat of terrorism is in its various forms,” he said.
Hamas did not claim it was behind the shooting, but praised it as “a natural response to the ongoing crimes [Ізраїлю] against Al-Aqsa Mosque and his barbaric aggression against Lebanon and steadfast Gaza.”
Since the beginning of this year, violence between Israel and the Palestinians has increased.
More than 90 Palestinians – militants and civilians – were killed by Israeli forces. If those behind Friday’s shooting are confirmed to be Palestinians, 17 Israelis and a Ukrainian – all civilians except an Israeli paramilitary police officer – were killed in the Palestinian attacks.