Mother and daughter were shot dead outside their home late on Monday, and another child was wounded and taken to hospital as violence in the Israeli Arab sector continues to claim more and more lives.
According to the police, Manar Haja and her twin daughters, aged 14, residents of the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod in central Israel, were targeted as revenge against her husband, who was involved in criminal gang disputes and lives abroad.
The women returned home late at night after going shopping when the assailant lay in wait outside their apartment building.
The family's daughters, twins who ninth grade just last week, helped their mother with the shopping bags when they were attacked.
"I heard the shots and ran to the scene, where a paramedic was trying to resuscitate one of them," a neighbor said. "I used my phone to provide him with light," she said.
"One of the girls just came back from putting shopping bags outside the elevator when she saw her mother and sister being shot, she tried to escape but the murderer shot her in her leg," she said.
Another neighbor said the shots were fired point blank. "We heard the shots and the child screaming in pain," she said. "We ran down stairs and saw the mother and daughter unconscious."
Another woman said the mother had not received any threats. "She was a good woman with a degree in education and was studying for her graduate degree," she said. "Those were her only children. The amount of killing in this city is frightening," the neighbor said.
Police central command chief said there was no prior knowledge of disputes or violence in the family.
"This is a very tragic incident and we will treat it with all seriousness," Police Major General Avi Biton said. "It is most likely linked to criminal gangs but that is just our preliminary assessment and we are gathering evidence and intelligence and will make operational decisions based on them," he said adding that the murder was one of the worst he had seen recently and will be given top priority.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Tuesday that the murder in Lod and the recent violence throughout the Arab sector requires increased police presence and severe punishment of any violent crime.
"I send my condolences to the Hajaj family and a speedy recovery to the wounded daughter," Lapid said. "It is inconceivable that a mother and daughter are murdered, and we will increase our efforts to fight this violence with all the means at our disposal," he said.
The murders bring the total of Arab women killed since the start of 2022 in Israel to nine.