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Palestinian toddler killed in arson attack by Jewish settlers

Palestinian toddler killed in arson attack by Jewish settlers

DUMA (West Bank): Suspected Jewish attackers torched a Palestinian home in the occupied West Bank on Friday, killing an 18-month-old child and seriously injuring his parents and brother.

The house in Duma, a village near the city of Nablus, had its windows smashed and fire bombs thrown inside before dawn as the family slept, the military and witnesses said. Graffiti in Hebrew reading “revenge” was scrawled outside, below a Star of David.

The child’s parents and four-year-old brother were flown by helicopter to Israeli hospitals and were in critical condition. A second house in the village was also set ablaze, but no one was at home.




It was the worst attack by Israeli assailants since a Palestinian teenager was burned to death in Jerusalem a year ago.

The Israeli military boosted forces in the area to search for the suspects, described by a spokesman as “two masked terrorists”, and prevent any escalation in violence. Ibrahim Dawabsheh, a Duma resident, said he heard people shouting for help from the house and rushed to it. “I saw two masked men outside,” he said. He went to get help and when he returned they had gone.

“We found the parents outside with burns. They said there was another son in the house. We brought him out and then they said there was another boy inside, but we couldn’t reach the bedroom because of the fire. He was left inside until rescue forces came,” Mr Dawabsheh said.

Pictures circulated by Palestinian media on the Internet showed a smiling, chubby-faced boy, named as Ali Dawabsheh. Footage from the house showed blackened walls and singed family photos scattered across charred belongings.

Several hundred people marched at the boy’s funeral procession calling for retribution. “With our souls and blood we shall redeem you, martyr,” they chanted as the child’s flag-draped body was carried through the village for burial.

The attack was widely condemned in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netan­yahu said he was shocked and promised that “all means” would be used to bring the assailants to justice.

“This is a terrorist attack. Israel takes firm action against terrorism, no matter who its perpetrators are,” he said.

After visiting the toddler’s brother at hospital, Mr Netanyahu told reporters he had phoned Pale­stinian President Mah­m­oud Abbas and said Israel was committed to find the assailants.

Earlier, Mr Abbas said he would submit the attack as evidence to the Intern­ational Criminal Court. “It is a war crime, a humanitarian crime,” he told reporters.

A spokesman for Mr Abbas held Israel responsible. “Such a crime would not have occurred if the Israeli government did not insist on pursuing settlements and protecting settlers,” Nabil Abu Rdainah said.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2015

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