Two held for firebomb attack on settlement gas station
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Two held for firebomb attack on settlement gas station

Group connected with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine admitted to burning down gas station, Shin Bet says

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

Ahmed Abdat (left) and Majdi Kowarik (right) were arrested for their involvement in the August 14 terror attack in which a gas station was set on fire in the West Bank community of Eli. (Photo from Shin Bet Security Agency)
Ahmed Abdat (left) and Majdi Kowarik (right) were arrested for their involvement in the August 14 terror attack in which a gas station was set on fire in the West Bank community of Eli. (Photo from Shin Bet Security Agency)

Two West Bank Palestinians were arrested over a July firebombing of a gas station inside an Israeli settlement, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said Tuesday.

The Shin Bet said the two men, from the village of Awarta, admitted to setting fire to the gas station in Eli in the central West Bank August 14, and to vandalizing nearby buildings, in revenge over the fatal firebombing of a Palestinian family two weeks earlier.

The perpetrators also sprayed the symbol of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine at the site.

The arrests were made in the West bank village of Awarta south of Nablus in a joint operation of the Shin Bet, the army and the police, according to an official statement. The suspects were found as a result of forensic evidence from the scene and eyewitness testimony of the attack.

Under interrogation, Ahmed Abdat, 23, and Majdi Kowarik, 22, confessed to carrying out the attack, according to the Shin bet. Kowarik admitted to planing the attack, while Abdat drove the vehicle and threw a fire bomb at the gas station.

The Shin Bet described the two as a “terror cell.”

Graffiti of the terror cell insignia found at the site of August 14 attack in which a gas station was set on fire in the West Bank community of Eli. (Courtesy Shin Bet Security Agency)
Graffiti of the terror cell insignia found at the site of August 14 attack in which a gas station was set on fire in the West Bank community of Eli. (Courtesy Shin Bet Security Agency)

They claimed to have executed the attack as revenge for the Duma village firebombing, which left three Palestinians dead and was likely perpetrated by Jewish terrorists.

The July 31 attack in the northern West Bank village of Duma killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha. His father Saad and mother Riham succumbed to severe burns the following week and in early September, respectively. Four-year-old Ahmed was the sole surviving member of the family.

No arrests have yet been made in that attack, despite a crackdown on Jewish extremist groups, though Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has indicated Israeli authorities know what group is behind the attack.

Inside the room of the Dawabsha home in Duma. A doll wrapped in a Palestinian flag rests in a stroller to honor Ali. (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)
Inside the room of the Dawabsha home in Duma. A doll wrapped in a Palestinian flag rests in a stroller to honor Ali. (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)

Security officials said later that Ya’alon did not say that Israel knew the specific perpetrators, but rather the group from which they had come.

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