RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The father of a Palestinian toddler killed in a firebomb attack blamed on Jewish extremists died Saturday of the wounds he suffered in the assault.
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.
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. The funeral took place later Saturday with hundreds taking part in the processions, chanting “God is great” and waving the Palestinian flag, as well as flags of the rival Fatah and Hamas movements. Some hurled stones and clashed with Israeli forces after the funeral.
The attack prompted widespread condemnation and pledges by Israel’s government to get tougher on Jewish vigilantes who repeatedly have attacked Palestinians and their property over the years.
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged a “zero tolerance” approach to the attacks and his government has taken steps to crack down following the attack. Several suspected Jewish extremists have been detained, but no one was directly accused of involvement in the attack.
On Saturday, Netanyahu expressed deep sorrow over the death of Dawabsheh. “We will not accept terror from any side,” he said in a statement.
Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups say Israeli authorities do little to enforce the law against militant settlers and that the Israeli military largely has failed to protect Palestinians against such attacks.
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. Many suspect radicalized Jewish teens have been behind those attacks on Palestinian homes, agriculture and livestock, as well as mosques, churches and even Israeli schools and military bases.
The attack on the Dawabsheh home, coupled with an ultra-Orthodox Jew’s fatal stabbing of a 16-year-old girl at a gay pride parade the previous day, sparked outrage in Israel and several large-scale anti-violence demonstrations. On Saturday, another march took place in Tel Aviv “against racism and homophobia.”
This story has been corrected to show the name of the hospital is Soroka, not Sorroka.