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Chief West Bank arson suspect to be charged with murder within days

Earlier this year, Israeli officials said that they knew identities of the suspects but would block their prosecution
A charred picture of Ali Dawabsha, the 18-month-old killed in the arson attack on his West Bank home (AFP)

The primary suspect in an arson attack that killed an 18-month-old Palestinian toddler and his parents is to be charged with murder next week.

The Israeli prosecution service informed a magistrate’s court in central Israel on Wednesday that it intends to charge the suspect within five days.

Prosecutors are reportedly still deciding what charges to bring against a minor suspected of helping to plan and carry out the attack in July.

The identities of the suspects remain subject to an Israeli gag order.

The West Bank home of the Dawabsha family was targeted with fire bombs during the July attack, which also saw the property daubed with the Hebrew words “Revenge” and “Long live the Messiah”.

Though they have publicly decried the attack as “terrorism in every respect,” Israeli authorities have faced criticism for the delay in prosecuting suspects in the killings.

Officials said in September that they had identified those responsible for the attack, but would seek to prevent them being charged so as to protect their intelligence sources.

Witnesses to the attack said they saw four people running away from the site in the small town of Duma, around 25km south-east of Nablus.

Only two people are expected to be charged within the next week.

The two suspects met with Israel’s deputy attorney general, Raz Nizri, earlier this week to assess allegations that they had been tortured during their interrogation.

Nizri visited the two in detention after they complained of ill-treatment.

Following the visit, Nazri sought to debunk the claims, saying there were “discrepancies” between the testimonies offered by the two suspects and by their lawyers.

A member of the legal team representing the pair, Adi Keidar, criticised Nazri for visiting the suspects in detention without the presence of their counsel.

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