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Father of toddler killed in West Bank firebombing has died

The father of a Palestinian toddler killed in a firebomb attack blamed on Jewish extremists has died of wounds sustained in the same incident. Ali Dawabsheh, 18 months, perished in the flames, while his 4-year-old brother and parents were seriously hurt.

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Protesters condemn the July 31 arson attack in the West Bank, at Rabin square in Tel Aviv, August 1, 2015. Some 3,000 demonstrators gathered for the rally organised by the Israeli anti-settler group Peace Now against the attack by suspected Jewish assailants who torched a Palestinian home in the occupied West Bank on Friday, killing an 18-month-old toddler and seriously injuring three other family members, an act that Israel's prime minister described as terrorism.

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The father of a Palestinian toddler killed in a firebomb attack blamed on Jewish extremists has died of wounds sustained in the same incident, his family said Saturday.

In the pre-dawn attack on July 31, assailants hurled firebombs into a bedroom of the Dawabsheh family's home in the West Bank village of Duma. Ali Dawabsheh, 18 months, perished in the flames, while his 4-year-old brother and parents were seriously hurt.

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Ali's uncle, Nasser, said the family received word early Saturday from Israel's Soroka Medical Center that the toddler's father, Saed, had died. Nasser Dawabsheh said the funeral would take place Saturday.

Saed Dawabsheh's death was also confirmed by Duma's mayor, Abdel Salam Dawabsheh.

The Soroka spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The attack prompted widespread condemnation and pledges by Israel's government to get tougher on Jewish vigilantes who have repeatedly attacked Palestinians and their property over the years.

As The Christian Science Monitor's Whitney Eulich reported:

Both Israeli and Palestinian leaders are calling the attack an act of terrorism. An 18-month-old boy was killed in the blaze, and three others were injured. Local media reports show graffiti that says “revenge” and “long live the Messiah” on the properties attacked with firebombs around 2 a.m. on Friday, Agence France-Presse reports.

“This is an act of terrorism in every respect,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Israel takes firm action against terrorism, no matter who its perpetrators are.”

Several suspected Jewish extremists have been detained, but no one was directly accused of involvement in the attack.

Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups say Israeli authorities do little to enforce the law against militant settlers and that the Israeli military has largely failed to protect Palestinians against such attacks.

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Many of the attacks have been part of a so-called "price tag" tactic intended to deter the dismantling of unauthorized settlement outposts that have sprung up on West Bank hilltops over the years.

In the wake of the firebombing, both Palestinians and Israelis have protested the terrorist act. Five Palestinian protesters have been killed, including three teenagers, reports the Monitor's Denise Hassanzade Ajiri. 

She writes:

The Palestine Liberation Organization stated that it holds Israel's government "fully responsible" for the death of the toddler and will lodge a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to Al Jazeera.

Hundreds of Israelis gathered in a Tel Aviv square Saturday night to condemn the arson attack and show solidarity with the Palestinian family. Protesters held banners reading "enough incitement, enough violence" and called on the government to crack down on settler lawlessness in the West Bank.

The slain toddler's mother and 4-year-old brother remain in critical condition, reports the New York Times.


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