Israel 'knows who burned Palestinian family alive – but is hiding them'

A 4-year-old caught in the fire is in hospital over a month after the attack

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The Independent Online

The Israeli government has identified the men who carried out an arson attack that killed three members of a Palestinian family - but has opted not to press charges, the country’s defence minister has reportedly said.

Moshe Ya’alon told a closed meeting of Likud activists in Tel Aviv that those responsible for the deaths are known, but that the state’s “defence establishment… has chosen to prevent legal recourse” to protect the identity of their sources, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

His alleged comments come after Israel imposed a gag order on publishing details of the investigation into the arson attack.

Ali Saad Dawabsheh, an 18-year-month-old baby, died when his family home in Duma, on the West Bank, was torched in the early hours of 31 July.  Graffiti depicting a Jewish star of David and the words “revenge” were daubed on the walls of the home.

The infant’s mother, Reham, 27, father, Saad, 32, and brother, Ahmad, 4, were critically wounded in the attack. Mr Dawabsheh succumbed to his injuries and died in August, while Mrs Dawabsheh died on Monday after her condition deteriorated.

Their surviving son remains in a serious condition in an Israeli hospital, where he is being treated for severe burns over most of his body.

Amjad Dawabsheh, a relative of the family, told Israeli Army Radio that Ahmed has not been told what happened to his parents and brother.

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

Following the attack, the political-security cabinet approved a request by Mr Ya’alon to approve the use of administrative detention against suspected Jewish terrorist – an action which is commonly used against Palestinian terror suspects.

Police have since detained three Jewish suspects in connection with the attack.

The incident sparked widespread condemnation from Israeli politicians across the political spectrum, with the Israel Defence Force (IDF) describing the incideint as “Jewish terrorism.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement Monday expressing his condolences and saying “security forces are doing their utmost to apprehend the assailants and bring them to justice.”

However, Nickolay Mladenov, the UN envoy to the Middle East said he was “concerned by the lack of progress in identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators of this outrage.”

The Independent has contacted the Israeli Embassy for a comment on Mr Ya’alon’s claim, and is awaiting a response.

Additional reporting by PA

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