Palestinian child killed in suspected arson attack

Jewish 'price tag' extremists blamed for firebomb assault that also left three people critically injured

Arson attack kills Palestinian child
(Image credit: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP/Getty Images)

A Palestinian child was killed in a suspected arson attack by Jewish extremists in the West Bank.

Eighteen-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha burned to death in the attack on two homes in the village of Duma early on Friday, which also left three family members critically wounded.

Eye-witnesses said they saw three people enter the village about 2.10am. The arsonists broke windows and threw firebombs into the Dawabsha home. When family members awoke they escaped but did not manage to get the baby out in time.

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Nationalist graffiti slogans were found on the wall, including "revenge" and "price tag". Police described it as a "suspected attack with nationalist motives".

Such acts of violence have come to be known as "price tag" attacks, as they are intended to show that action against Jewish settlers comes at a price.

The crime appeared to be an act of revenge for the recent demolition of two buildings in the nearby settlement of Beit El, says The Guardian. The newspaper described it as the worst attack by suspected Israeli extremists since a Palestinian teenager was burned to death last summer after three Israeli boys were kidnapped and killed.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said he held the Israeli government fully responsible for this morning's attack. "This is a direct consequence of decades of impunity given by the Israeli government to settler terrorism," he said in a statement.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "I am shocked over this reprehensible and horrific act. This is an act of terrorism in every respect. The state of Israel takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of who the perpetrators are."

In Britain, the chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, Sir Mick Davis, also condemned the incident, calling it a "terrorist atrocity".

The "price tag" group has been blamed for a succession of torchings of mosques in the West Bank in the past few years.

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