Israel arrests alleged Jewish terrorist over deadly arson

Jerusalem: Israeli authorities said today that they had arrested a number of alleged Jewish extremists over the firebombing of a Palestinian home that killed a toddler and his parents in an attack that drew international condemnation.

Israel faces mounting pressure to bring the perpetrators of the July attack in the occupied West Bank to justice, with a UN envoy on yesterday expressing concern over the “slow progress” in the probe.

“We have confirmed that a number of suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident that took place in Duma,” Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.

The Shin Bet domestic security agency said arrests had been made in recent days of young men “suspected of belonging to a Jewish terror organisation and carrying out terror attacks”.

It said in a statement that the detainees were being questioned over the July 31 firebombing in the West Bank village of Duma, located near the Jordan Valley and close to wildcat Jewish settlements.

Further information on the investigation, including the identities of those held, remained under an Israeli gag order, often used to keep details of sensitive investigations secret.

A lawyer representing one suspect held over the arson appeared in court in the Israeli city of Lod on Thursday to request access to speak with his client, but was refused, he said.

The lawyer, Itamar Ben-Gvir, confirmed his client was being held over the Duma attack, but had no other details on the case and criticised the Israeli authorities for not allowing him access.

Eighteen-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha and his parents were killed in the firebombing. The couple’s four-year-old son was the sole survivor from the immediate family.

A Star of David and the words “revenge” and “long live the Messiah” were spray-painted on a wall near the family’s small house.

The arson drew renewed attention to Jewish extremism and accusations that Israel had not done enough to address the problem.

Young Jewish men from wildcat settlement outposts in the West Bank and known as the “hilltop youth” have been blamed for violence and vandalism targeting Palestinians, Christian holy sites and even Israeli military property.