12-year-old boy badly burned in suspected arson attack still fighting for life

Child remains in critical condition after suffering 2nd- and 3rd-degree burns all over his body in Hura blaze; uncle denies family linked to intra-clan feud as 3rd suspect arrested

Fire at a garage in the southern town of Hura, May 21, 2022. (Screen grab/Kan)
Fire at a garage in the southern town of Hura, May 21, 2022. (Screen grab/Kan)

A boy who was seriously hurt in a suspected arson attack in Hura over the weekend is still fighting for his life, according to a hospital statement Sunday.

Issa Najah Abu al-Qian, 12, suffered second- and third-degree burns all over his body from a fire at a phone store in the southern Bedouin town, which was allegedly torched Saturday by several men.

According to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, Abu al-Qian was in critical condition and faces a continued threat to his life. The hospital said he was sedated and on a ventilator in the pediatric intensive care unit.

Meanwhile, his uncle distanced the family from reports the attack may have been part of an ongoing dispute within the Abu al-Qian clan.

“We’re from a different part [of the clan]. This could also have happened to a boy from Beersheba who came to fix his phone,” Salim Issa told Army Radio.

Also Sunday, police announced the arrest of a third Hura resident suspected of involvement in the incident. The suspect, 25, was arrested in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat.

He was due to appear Sunday along with the other suspects, aged 21 and 25, at a Beersheba court for a remand hearing.

On Saturday, Abu al-Qian’s father said his son accompanied him to work at a factory and had taken his phone to get fixed at a nearby store when a group of suspects set it alight.

“They just set set the place on fire with flammable material,” Najah Abu al-Qian told the Haaretz daily.

Arab communities have seen a surge in violence in recent years, driven mainly, but not only, by organized crime. Arab Israelis blame police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence, which includes family feuds, mafia turf wars and violence against women.

The community has also suffered from decades of neglect.

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