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Israel indicts Jewish extremists in arson attack that killed Palestinian toddler, parents

The West Bank home of a Palestinian family set alight in a deadly July 2015 attack by a Jewish terrorist is to be turned into a museum, the brother of one of the victims said Sunday.

The arson attack in the West Bank town of Duma ignited a furor and delays in solving it have been blamed for sparking an outbreak of violence.

Amiram Ben Uliel, a 21-year-old native of Jerusalem, was formally charged on Sunday with murder enacted with “racist motives”. A minor was indicted as an accessory as well.

Shin Bet, Israel’s security service, said Uliel had confessed to planning and carrying out the attack by flinging Molotov cocktails into the home.

In a statement, the Shin Bet said it had thwarted a “Jewish terror organization” that dreamed of overthrowing the government and establishing a religious theocracy that would be headed by a king, rebuild the biblical Jewish Temple and expel non-Jews. “They group believes that through violence they will succeed in turning this country into a theocracy”, he said. He estimated the “violent hardcore” at about 100 activists, and a “second circle” of a few hundred others. “It definitely has an important influence”, he said. “They would not have launched an investigation were it not for the worldwide pressure on them”, he said, accusing the government of effectively “support(ing) the terrorism conducted by (West Bank) settlers against our people”.

But his grandparents, whom AFP met at home next to their son’s torched house in Duma, said they did not believe in “unfair Israeli justice”.

Today’s shootings come amid a wave of violence since the beginning of October previous year that has killed 138 Palestinians and 20 Israelis.

The arson attack followed days of tensions over West Bank settlements, with rightwing groups opposing the demolition of two buildings under construction that the Israeli High Court said were illegal. Israeli forces or armed civilians have killed at least 132 Palestinians, 82 of whom the authorities described as assailants.

According to the United Nations, “Israel is obliged under global law to protect Palestinians and their property from acts of violence by settlers, to ensure accountability for crimes committed, and to provide a remedy for any violations suffered”.

The would-be attacker fled the scene after attempting to stab an Israeli man waiting at the bus stop, and was caught by Israeli security forces, Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a tweet. The Palestinians say it is rooted in frustrations stemming from almost five decades of Israeli occupation.

An Israeli soldier was injured in a shooting attack in the Hebron area hours after another soldier was wounded in a shooting attack in the area.

Magen David Adom medical teams provided initial treatment to the 19-year-old victim before evacuating her to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

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