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Mother of murdered West Bank toddler dies of wounds

The murders by settlers sparked outrage. [Anadolu/Getty]

Date of publication: 7 September, 2015

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Riham Dawabsheh, mother of toddler murdered by settlers in arson attack in West Bank died on Monday of her burns with Palestinians saying Israel is complicit in the murders.

The mother of Ali, the Palestinian toddler killed in a firebomb attack by Israeli settlers has died of wounds she suffered in the July attack.

The baby's uncle Hatem Dawabsheh said Riham Dawabsheh died of her wounds early Monday.

On July 31, assailants hurled firebombs into a bedroom of the family's home in the West Bank village of Duma in a pre-dawn attack. Eighteen-month-old Ali Dawabsheh perished in the flames.

His father who was also wounded in the attack died last month.

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

The Palestinian authority accused the Israeli government of complicity, saying in a statement that Riham's death underlined the gravity of the crime committed by the settlers.

Ali's older brother, four-year-old Ahmad Dawabsheh is the only child in this family who is still alive but is suffering from serious burns and remains in an Israeli hospital.

The Palestinian government said President Mahmoud Abbas was following up the Dawabsheh family's case in international circles and pushing for Israel and its settlers to be held to account for their crimes against Palestinians.

The Palestinians renewed demand for the international community, particularly the United Nations Security Council, to effectively and seriously intervene to provide international protection for the Palestinian people, especially in the face of hate crimes perpetrated by Israeli extremists against Palestinian civilians which mostly target women and children.

Hamas, which runs the government in Gaza, said in a statement that calls for political action and reliance on international bodies were not enough, and urged resistence.

The UN envoy to the Middle East expressed concern Monday that Israel has not yet apprehended Jewish extremists suspected in the July arson.

The remarks by Nickolay Mladenov came after the toddler's mother died of wounds suffered in the blaze, becoming the third family member to die from the attack.

The last remaining family member is the couple's 4-year-old son Ahmad, who is still undergoing treatment for severe burns at an Israeli hospital. A relative of the family, Amjad Dawabsheh, told Israeli Army Radio on Monday that relatives have not told the boy what happened to the rest of his family.

"How can we tell him, 'Your father and mother and brother died?'" he said.

Israel's Cabinet approved harsh measures to fight what Israeli leaders have called "Jewish terrorism," and three young settler activists were jailed for six months without charge, a measure used regularly against Palestinian detainees but rarely on Israelis.

Still, Israeli authorities have not announced arrests or identified suspects in the July arson attack. Israel has imposed a gag order on publishing details of the investigation into the arson attack.

Mladenov called for "justice" in a statement released after reports of Rihan's death.

"Acknowledging the wide condemnations issued at the time of the incident by Israeli and Palestinian leaders, I am nevertheless concerned by the lack of progress in identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators of this outrage," Mladenov said.

Israeli human rights groups say few police investigations into alleged Israeli settler crimes against Palestinians in recent years have resulted in indictments.

On Monday, Israeli police announced that two Israeli settler activists, an 18-year-old and a minor, were indicted on suspicion of setting fire to a Bedouin Arab tent in the West Bank last month to protest Israeli actions to round up Jewish extremists. No one was injured in the attack.

Police said the 18-year-old, Avi Gafni, had been living in a hilltop outpost in the West Bank and had been banned from the area three times in the last two years due to suspicions that he had been involved in arson attacks on Palestinian holy sites and property in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

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