Israeli investigation disputes claims that Jewish extremists behind new Duma fire


(JTA) — Palestinian and Israeli officials are offering competing explanations for a fire that broke out next door to the West Bank home where a Palestinian baby and his parents were killed in an arson attack allegedly by Jewish extremists.

Reports of a fire early Wednesday morning near the house where the three Palestinians were killed in last year’s firebombing sparked suspicions that Jewish terrorists were behind the new attack.

Palestinian Authority Civil Defense units extinguished Wednesday morning’s fire, which caused no injuries.

An Israel Police investigation has determined that the fire, believed to have been started when a Molotov cocktail was hurled at the house, resulted from a conflict between village residents and was not nationalistically motivated, The Jerusalem Post reported.

However, the homeowner and several Palestinian officials accused Jewish extremists of starting the fire.

Ghassan Daghlas, a P.A. official, told the Post that Jewish settlers are “the primary suspects” and that the objects used to start the fire are “not available in the Palestinian market.”

In March, the home of another Duma resident — a key witness in last July’s firebombing — also caught fire. However, the Israel Police and Shin Bet security service said their investigation did not indicate arson.

Three defendants, two men and a minor, are standing trial for the July 2015 fire that killed the three members of the Palestinian family.

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