Fire hits home of witness to arson that killed Palestinian family

Ibrahim Dawabsha survived the blaze but he and his wife were hospitalised for smoke inhalation.

Palestinians inspecting the damage at the burned house of Ibrahim Dawabsha, from the West Bank village of Duma on 20 March 2016. Mr Dawabsha is a key witness in the firebombing attack carried out by Jewish extremists on July 2015 against his relatives which kiled an 18-month-old boy along with his two parents. EPA
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Duma, Palestinian Territories // Fire on Sunday engulfed the home of a key witness to an arson attack by Jewish extremists that killed a Palestinian family last year.

Ibrahim Dawabsha survived the blaze, which was located in Duma in the occupied West Bank – the same village where a July firebombing killed an 18-month-old Palestinian boy and his parents.

Israeli authorities were investigating the cause of the fire at the second floor home, though residents said they believed it was started by Molotov cocktails. Palestinian officials reacted angrily to what they viewed as another extremist attack.

Mr Dawabsha and his wife were awakened overnight by thick smoke, residents said.

The young couple, relatives of the family killed in the July attack, were hospitalised for smoke inhalation and were said to be in shock.

“At around 1.30 am, I heard my brother and his wife call for help,” said Mr Dawabsha’s brother Bashar, who lives downstairs.

“I went up to their floor and I saw the fire.”

A bedroom window in the house was broken, with shattered glass inside.

The broken window raised suspicions that Molotov cocktails were thrown inside – as occurred in the July firebombing.

“The window was broken from the outside and flammable materials were found in the rubble,” said Col Malek Ali, fire chief for the nearby city of Nablus.

Another family member, Nasser Dawabsha, said he believed the fire was intended to “send a message to the family and the village: ‘This witness must disappear’.”

Israeli police said “all leads will be investigated”.

The July 31 attack on a family home in the village killed 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha and fatally wounded his parents.

Five-year-old Ahmed was the sole survivor from the immediate family. After spending months in hospital, he was flown to Spain last week to meet Real Madrid football stars, including his hero Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ibrahim told local media at the time of the firebombing that he saw two masked men standing near the badly wounded parents lying on the ground.

In January, a court charged two Israelis over the firebombing after slow progress in a case that sparked global condemnation and drew renewed attention to Jewish extremism

* Agence France-Presse