Israeli authorities know the identity of the perpetrators of July’s alleged Jewish terrorist attack which left three Palestinians dead in Duma, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon reportedly said Wednesday, but they are not being indicted at present in order to avoid exposing intel sources in court.
The defense minister told a closed meeting of about 20 young Likud party members Wednesday that the defense establishment knows who firebombed the Dawabshe home in the West Bank village of Duma, Haaretz reported Thursday.
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, Channel 2 reported.
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, still hospitalized at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer near Ramat Gan with burns over much of his body, is the sole surviving member of the family.
A senior IDF officer told reporters on Tuesday that security agencies had “no doubt” that the Duma attack was perpetrated by Jews.
“This was an act of Jewish terrorism, and that’s unambiguous,” the officer said. He did not reveal evidence from the ongoing investigation, but insisted, “All the conjecture and speculations being spread on this issue lack any basis in reality.”
Eyewitnesses at the scene of the July 31 attack said that four people fled the village toward the West Bank settlement of Maale Efraim after firebombing the Dawabsha home and spraypainting “revenge” and “long live the king of the Messiah” on houses in the village.
The officer also responded to complaints by family members of the victims — reiterated this week by a UN official — that said the IDF was lax in locating the suspected attackers. While he would not give any update on the investigation, including whether there were suspects, he said security agencies were devoting every required resources to solving the case and catching the perpetrators.
The attack shocked the nation, prompting leaders from across the political spectrum, including President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to condemn the attack and order a massive crackdown on the so-called “price tag” movement of Jewish extremists who carry out attacks against Palestinian civilians. The security cabinet, composed of the cabinet’s most senior ministers, took the step of granting Israel’s security agencies the power to detain Jewish terror suspects without trial, a measure used regularly against Palestinians but rarely against Israeli citizens.