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Palestinian Father Dies Eight Days After Firebombing That Also Killed His Toddler

Authorities suspect Jewish extremists committed the so-called “price-tag” attack on July 31 as revenge for actions taken against settlers by the Israeli government.

by Harriet Salem
Aug 8 2015, 5:15pm

Photo via EPA

A firebomb attack that killed a Palestinian toddler last Friday has now also claimed the life of the child's father, who died Saturday morning eight days after being hospitalized with second-degree burns over more than 80 percent of his body.

Authorities suspect Jewish extremists targeted the family's home and a neighboring property in the West Bank village of Douma in a revenge attack early on the morning of July 31. The assailants threw Molotov cocktails through the windows of the houses and scrawled Hebrew graffiti that read, "Long live the Messiah," and "Revenge," on the walls.

It was a so-called "price-tag" attack, a term used to describe attacks committed as revenge for actions taken against settlers by the Israeli government — with Jewish extremists exacting a heavy price for perceived wrongs against their community.

Related: Israel Destroys Palestinian Homes After Announcing New Settlements

Saad Dawabsha, 32, had been on life support since he was admitted to Soroka Medical Centre in Beer Sheva last week. His wife and four-year-old son are still in critical condition. Ali Saad Dawabsha, the family's 18-month-old son, died in the blaze after rescuers were unable to reach him because of ferocity of the flames.

A photograph of 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha in the family's fire-damaged home in the West Bank village of Douma. (Photo by Alaa Badarneh/EPA)

Relatives said the family was initially transported from the village to a Palestinian hospital in a private car with Saad Dawabsha in the trunk before the military coordinated their evacuation to Israel. "There was no other way to get them to help," Saad's eldest brother, Nassar Dawabsha, told VICE NEWS. "This is a small village, there's no ambulance service and no hospital."

Since the attack, locals have set up patrol groups to protect the village and youths from the area have clashed sporadically with the Israeli army, burning tires and throwing rocks. On Saturday, Palestinian media reported another settler attack on Douma overnight, with a firebomb landing close to the wall of a family home.

Related: Israel 'Ignored Warnings' on Jewish Terror Cells Before Attack that Killed 18-Month-Old Baby

Scores of mourners attended the funeral of Saad Dawabsha, who was buried next to his son on Saturday afternoon.

The Israeli army is on high alert across the West Bank after the Palestinian militant group Hamas called for more clashes in the wake of the second death.

Husam Badran, a Gaza-based Hamas spokesman, said on Facebook that the killings "proved the severity of the crimes perpetrated by the Zionists."

"Nothing will stop these murderous settler attacks… we cannot wait until they come to our villages… Our people in West Bank have only one choice: that of open and comprehensive confrontation against the occupation," he wrote.

In the wake of the attacks, Israel's defense minister approved the use of "administrative detention" — indefinite incarceration without trial — for use against Jewish extremists. Israeli security forces have long used the draconian measure to detain Palestinian terror suspects.

On Saturday, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, a high-ranking official in the pro-settler Jewish Home party, said she supported the death penalty for the attackers. Speaking to a local TV news network, Shaked said that Jewish terrorism damaged the country's reputation "because our enemies use it against us."

So far, Israeli authorities have arrested three Jewish extremists in the wake of the attack, but none have been directly connected to the firebombing of the Dawabsha's home.

Related: Israel Detains Jewish Extremists as Crackdown on Terror Cells Continues

Follow Harriet Salem on Twitter: @HarrietSalem

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