Palestinian mother injured in arson attack dies

2015-09-07 14:33
Palestinian women look at the damage at the Dawabsha family's home in the West Bank village of Duma. (Menahem Kahana, AFP)

Palestinian women look at the damage at the Dawabsha family's home in the West Bank village of Duma. (Menahem Kahana, AFP)

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The mother of Ali Saad Dawabsha, the Palestinian toddler who was killed when suspected Jewish settlers firebombed his house, has succumbed to her injuries, according to the Israeli hospital where she was cared for and her family.

Several suspects have been arrested after the family's home in Duma, a village in the occupied West Bank, was attacked with Molotov cocktails on 31 July, prompting anger among the Palestinian community.

"Riham Dawabsha died in the night," a spokeswoman for the Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv said, where the 26-year-old teacher was admitted with third-degree burns covering 80 percent of her body.

Anwar Dawabsha, a family member, confirmed he had been informed of Riham's death on Sunday night and said the funeral would be held on Monday in Duma.

Riham Dawabsha's death comes after her 18-month-old Ali died on the day of the attack and his father Saad eight days later.

Ali's four-year-old brother Ahmed is still in hospital.

Stabbing attack

The Israelis are expected to return Riham's body to the Palestinian authorities to a checkpoint at the entrance to the West Bank, from where it will be taken to Duma.

The family's small brick and cement home was destroyed by the fire and a Jewish Star of David spray-painted on a wall along with the words "revenge" and "long live the Messiah".

The bombing came only hours after a stabbing attack at a Jerusalem Gay Pride march that killed a 16-year-old girl and wounded five other people.

While the attacks were not related, both have led to criticism of Israel's government and security forces, who have been accused of failing to tackle Jewish violence.

Thousands of mourners, many waving Palestinian flags, turned out to lay Saad Dawabsha to rest last month in an emotional ceremony that later erupted into clashes with Israeli border police.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, has pledged to tackle the issue and labelled the firebombing "terrorism" - a word usually reserved by Israelis for violence by Palestinians.

The Palestinian foreign ministry in the West Bank city of Ramallah said it had submitted a request to the Hague-based International Criminal Court to probe the firebombing and "settler terrorism".

'Price-tag' attacks

There has been a series of nationalist hate crimes, known as "price-tag" attacks, by suspected Jewish settlers.

Such groups have warned in the past there would be a price to pay for any action by Israeli authorities they regard as hostile to the Jewish settlement movement or to far-right religious beliefs.

Last month, a tent was torched and Hebrew-language graffiti sprayed in a bedouin village in the West Bank in what residents and a nongovernmental organisation said was another suspected attack by Jewish settlers.

The village is near an illegal Jewish settlement outpost where police detained several people in raids linked to the July firebombing, before later releasing them.

The graffiti, which read "administrative revenge" seemed to refer to the internment without charge - known as administrative detention - of three alleged Jewish activists after the 31 July arson attack.

The suspects have not been publicly accused of the Duma firebombing, but of unspecified links to a "Jewish extremist organisation".

Read more on:    benjamin netanyahu  |  israel  |  palestine  |  arson

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