The New York Times reports: A Palestinian toddler was burned to death and his 4-year-old brother critically injured early Friday morning in an arson attack on their home in the West Bank that witnesses and officials attributed to Jewish extremists because of Hebrew graffiti sprayed nearby. “Revenge!” was written on one wall, next to a Star of David.
The attack was branded as terrorism by Israeli and Palestinian politicians, and shocked consciences on both sides of the simmering conflict that has boiled into renewed violence in recent weeks.
Residents of Duma — a hilltop hamlet of 3,000, many of whose men, including the children’s father, work building homes in nearby Israeli settlements — milled with stony faces around the charred home, where relatives threw a baby bottle still sloshing with milk and photographs of the young family atop a pile of blackened furniture and burned blankets. The parents were also hurt in the fire.
“The atmosphere here is very grave,” Sakariya Shadeh, a human rights worker from a nearby village who was at the scene, said on Army Radio. “People are angry over what has happened, over what has brought upon this act.”
Officials and neighbors identified the dead child as 18-month old Ali Saad Dawabsheh, and said his parents, Saad, 32, and Riham, a 27-year-old mathematics teacher, were being treated in Israeli hospitals along with their other son, Ahmad.
Witnesses said that they saw four masked men in black clothing throw firebombs through the windows of two homes near the village entrance around 2 a.m. and that Duma residents had chased them toward the nearby settlement of Maale Efraim; two witnesses said they saw two of the men standing over the burning bodies. [Continue reading…]