Israel’s Prime Minister has condemned a “horrific, heinous” arson attack in the West Bank, which killed an 18-month-old boy and critically injured at least three people.
The attack was suspected to have been carried out by a Jewish extremist, who burnt down two Palestinian homes in a West Bank village.
Israeli military spokesman Lt Col Peter Lerner called the attack which killed Ali Dawabsheh “nothing short of a barbaric act of terrorism” as troops scoured the area for the suspects.
The military said the assailants entered the village of Duma, near Nablus, in the early hours, where they torched the houses and scrawled Hebrew graffiti including “Long live the Messiah” and “price tag”, as the attacks are known.
“I am shocked by this horrific, heinous act,” said Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement. “This is a terror attack in every respect. The State of Israel deals forcefully with terror, regardless of who the perpetrators are.”
Jewish extremists have attacked Palestinian property for years, as well as mosques, churches and even Israeli military bases in opposition to what they see as the state’s favourable policies towards the Palestinians and critics say police have been slow to catch the assailants. It is, however, rare for anyone to be killed in such attacks.
The latest “price tag” attack was swiftly condemned.
Israeli defence minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel would not allow “Jewish terrorists” to carry out such acts.
“We will not allow Jewish terrorists to harm the lives of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria,” he said in a statement, referring to the West Bank by its biblical name.
“We will fight against them firmly and with all means and tools at our disposal.”
UK Minister for the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood said: “The UK strongly condemns today’s horrific attack by Israeli settlers that resulted in the death of a Palestinian child. This was a brutal act of terrorism, as recognised by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. We call on the Israeli authorities to ensure that those responsible for this crime are brought swiftly to justice. We also call on political and community leaders on all sides to do their utmost to promote calm.”
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis posted the following statement: “I unequivocally condemn the brutality & disregard shown for human life that has seen a Palestinian toddler murdered in his home this morning”.
In a statement, the The Board said shocked condemned it ‘unreservedly.’ Senior Vice President Richard Verber said: “We share in the pain of the Dawabsha family and hope that the perpetrators of this act of terror will be brought to justice as soon as possible.”
Chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, Sir Mick Davis said: “We unequivocally condemn the terrorist atrocity carried out by Jewish extremists.. The murder of 18 month old Ali Saad Daobasa is a tragedy and an affront to our values as Jews and as human beings..”
From Paul Charney, Zionist Federation Chairman said the organisation “joins its voice to all those across the Israeli political spectrum who have unequivocally condemned the appalling act of terror in Duma earlier this morning.
“There can be no excuse for such actions, and we fully expect Israel to bring those responsible to justice.”