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Revenge calls as Palestinian boy dies in 'Jewish settler' arson attack


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Revenge calls as Palestinian boy dies in 'Jewish settler' arson attack

There have been calls for retribution in the West Bank after a Palestinian toddler was burned alive in an arson attack blamed on Jewish settlers.

Ali Saad Dawabsheh, 18 months old, died in Friday’s attack on his home in Duma, a village near the city of Nablus.

Amid the grief at his funeral, there were calls for retribution.

Palestinian officials hold Israel responsible.

“It is a war crime and a crime against humanity,” said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“As long as the settlements continue and the occupation exists, then such crimes will remain and continue. We are preparing a file on this crime and other crimes to take them immediately to the International Criminal Court and no-one will stop us from doing so.”

Slogans in Hebrew, including the word ‘revenge’ were daubed outside the infant’s house.

Firebombs were thrown inside as the family slept. Ali’s parents and brother suffered severe burns and were flown to an Israeli hospital.

Israeli 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.

“Israel unequivocally condemns this morning’s brutal attack, this atrocity. It’s unacceptable,” said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev.

“We have officially defined it as terrorism. We will fight terrorism. We will defeat terrorism. We will bring the perpetrators of this atrocity to justice.”

The condemnation was echoed, notably by the United States.

But calls for calm failed to prevent clashes, including in Hebron.

Israeli police say the fire looks to have been a so-called ‘Price Tag’ attack – a reference to militant settlers who exact retribution for any
government curbs on settlement expansion.

Israel tore down two illegal structures in the Beit El settlement near Ramallah and removed dozens of people from another settlement near Nablus on Wednesday, prompting protests.

The ‘Price Tag’ group has been blamed for torching a number of mosques in the West Bank in recent years. Those attacks caused widespread damage but no casualties.

Although Israel has promised to crack down on such assailants, only a handful of indictments have been handed down.

The Israeli military boosted forces in the area of the fatal fire to search for the suspects, described by a spokesman as “two masked terrorists”, and prevent any further escalation in violence.

It was the worst attack by Israeli assailants since a Palestinian teenager was burned to death in Jerusalem a year ago. That followed the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers by Palestinian militants in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has called for revenge.

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