The bodies of two girls, aged three and five, were on Tuesday in a house near the Bedouin town of Al-Fura in southern Israel. Authorities believe the girls were strangled.  

Israel Police said there were signs of violence on the bodies, and that they are investigating whether the girls were murdered by a family member. A large police force headed Tuesday night to the area where the bodies were found. 

A medical crew was rushed to the scene following a report on two unconscious girls. Once the team arrived a paramedic determined that they were dead, probably strangled to death. The bodies had markings indicating the girls were violently attacked. "The scene was shocking and horrifying," a member of the medical team said. The police rushed a mobile crime lab to investigate the crime.

Residents of Al-Fura – an unrecognized Bedouin village located near the town of Kseifa, west of Arad, that is home to some 28 extended families from several different Bedouin tribes – said the children were found by another girl who lives in the village. Their father is living someplace in the center of the country, the residents said, and their mother wasn’t in the village at the time.

“We don’t know exactly what happened,” said one. “We hope the police will uncover the truth as quickly as possible.”

Like most residents of unrecognized villages, Al-Fura’s some 6,000 residents live in makeshift housing and earn their living mainly as shepherds. Sources in the village said that some residents are also involved in criminal activity.