Police on Sunday arrested three boys — aged 12 and 13 — on suspicion of throwing the petrol bomb that injured six Palestinians in a taxi near the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin on August 16.
Five of the injured were members of the same Palestinian family, from nearby Nahalin. The parents, 35 and 27 years of age, suffered second-degree burns in the attack, while their three children and the driver suffered first-degree burns.
Speaking at a school in city of Nazareth on Monday morning, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said the attack “threatens the fabric of life” and he expects further arrests to be made.
The father was burned on his face and body when he was trapped in the yellow taxi after it turned over in a ditch.
IDF troops found another firebomb at the scene of the crime. The trio of boys were suspected of planning to throw that too.
The three were brought before a Jerusalem magistrate on Sunday evening. The mother of one of the three, who all live at Bat Ayin, said her son was innocent and the allegation unfounded.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had sent a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after the attack, pledging that Israel would bring the perpetrators to justice.
Netanyahu said he saw the incident as “very serious,” and was committed to finding those responsible. Netanyahu added that he would “closely follow the medical treatment received by those who were injured” and offered to extend whatever additional assistance may be necessary.
The attack was also condemned by the US State Department.
Danino referred to the incident as “very serious and grave” and pledged that he would “not allow extremist criminals to disrupt… daily life anywhere in the country, especially not in those areas where the balance… is particularly delicate.”
Shin Bet agents entered Bat Ayin nine days ago and interviewed several young right-wing activists, between the ages of 13-18.
Nahalin Mayor Ossama Shakarneh condemned the attack as “cowardly” and claimed it wasn’t the first of its kind. “The settlers are constantly bombarding us with rocks and attacking Palestinians,” he said.
Davidi Perel, the head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, said that if the incident was a Jewish terror attack, “we indeed strongly condemn it. We denounce all terrorism, whether it is directed against Jews or against Arabs.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned the attack as well.
“We are horrified by these violent attacks against Palestinians but welcome Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s pledge to Palestinian President Abbas that the victims of this heinous assault will see justice served,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL National Director. “If the attacks were carried out by Israeli Jewish youth, this violence cannot be seen as isolated incidents. Israeli leadership – political, religious, cultural – must come together to make clear that these manifestations of hate are unacceptable and will not be tolerated, and that country-wide social and educational initiatives must be considered.”