Israel charges two over murder of Palestinian family in July bombing

  • AFP, Lod, Israel
  • Updated: Jan 03, 2016 18:22 IST
Palestinian women look at the damage at the Dawabsha family's home in the West Bank village of Duma. Israel on Sunday indicted two extremists with the murder of Dawabsha couple and their child. (AFP File Photo)

A court charged two Israelis on Sunday over a firebombing last year that killed a Palestinian couple and their toddler, in an attack that sparked condemnation globally.

The pre-dawn attack on the Dawabsha family home in the West Bank village of Duma on July 31 last year killed 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha, and fatally wounded his parents.

His brother, who was four at that time, was the sole survivor from the immediate family.

Amiram Ben-Uliel, 21, from the northern settlement of Shilo in the occupied West Bank, was charged with three counts of murder and one of attempted murder, arson and conspiracy to commit a hate crime, said the Israeli court indictment.

A 17-year-old, who remained unnamed under a gag order, was charged with being an accessory to committing a racially motivated murder.

Israel has been under heavy pressure to try those responsible for the attack, with rights groups questioning the delay in the case and contrasting it to the swift reaction often following Palestinian attacks.

Ben-Uliel and the minor, who lived in different wildcat settlements near Duma at the time, in July 2015 plotted to avenge a Palestinian shooting dead Malachi Rosenfeld near Shilo one month earlier, a statement from the justice ministry said.

The minor was also accused of having taken part in an arson attack on the Dormition Abbey in east Jerusalem.

Two other Israelis, including a minor, were charged for implication in “other terrorist acts”.

These included the arson attacks on the Dormition Abbey in May 2014 and the Church of the Multiplication in June 2015, as well as acts of vandalism on Palestinian property.

Christians believe the church on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee is where Jesus performed the miracle of loaves and fishes.

In the Duma attack, masked assailants reportedly hurled Molotov cocktails through the windows of the Dawabsha home, which were left open because of the summer heat.

Graffiti left at the site, witness reports and the proximity of Israeli settlements led suspicions to fall immediately on Jewish extremists.

The arson attack followed days of tensions over West Bank settlements, with rightwing groups opposing the demolition of two buildings under construction that the Israeli High Court said were illegal.

The international community regards all Jewish settlements in the West Bank as illegal but the Israeli government makes a distinction between those it has authorised and those it has not.

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