Middle East

Israel examines video showing arson death 'celebrations'

Saad, Ali and Riham Dawabsha Image copyright EPA
Image caption Saad, Ali and Riham Dawabsha were killed when their home was firebombed four months ago

Israeli police are investigating a video of Jewish extremists at a wedding apparently celebrating the death of a Palestinian family in an arson attack.

Saad and Riham Dawabsha and their 18-month-old son, Ali, were killed four months ago in a West Bank attack Palestinians blamed on Jewish settlers.

Israel's prime minister said the video, which shows a reveller stabbing a picture of the toddler, was "shocking".

Its publication comes amid an upsurge in violence in the region.

On Thursday, there were several attacks by Palestinians on Israelis in the West Bank, according to Israeli police.

  • Two security guards were stabbed at a Jewish settlement
  • A man tried to attack soldiers with a screwdriver
  • A man drove his car into a group of soldiers at a military post, wounding one

All three assailants were shot dead, while a fourth Palestinian was killed in clashes with Israeli security forces at a West Bank refugee camp.

'True face'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the wedding video showed "the true face of a group that poses a danger to Israeli society and Israel's security".

Police said they were investigating the footage - which also shows attendees dancing with guns and knives - on suspicion of incitement.

The married couple are friends with some of those detained in connection with the arson attack, Israeli media report.

No-one has been charged yet over the deaths of the Palestinian family, but earlier this month several youths were arrested who, the Shin Bet security agency said, had links to a Jewish terrorist organisation.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The region has witnessed a surge in violence

The Dawabsha family were sleeping in their home when it was firebombed and daubed with Hebrew slogans, including the word "revenge". Another son, four-year-old Ahmed, is still being treated for his wounds.

One Israeli politician questioned the timing of the video's release amid suggestions that charges are imminent - and accusations from some of the detainees' lawyers they were tortured to extract confessions.

"My concern is that someone in the security establishment released this clip, at this time, in order to try to grant legitimacy to those aberrant interrogation methods," Bezalel Smotrich of the religious Jewish Home party told Israel's Army Radio, according to Reuters news agency.