Ahmad Dawabsha returns to Duma for first time since attack
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Ahmad Dawabsha returns to Duma for first time since attack

The five-year-old’s uncle says he knows ‘his family is in heaven’ but doesn’t quite comprehend that they’re dead

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

In this screen capture from a YouTube video uploaded on March 16, 2016, Ahmed Dawabsha is seen recovering from his burns in hospital, holding a Real Madrid sign. (YouTube screen capture)
In this screen capture from a YouTube video uploaded on March 16, 2016, Ahmed Dawabsha is seen recovering from his burns in hospital, holding a Real Madrid sign. (YouTube screen capture)

Ahmed Dawabsha returned to the West Bank village of Duma on Tuesday for the first time since his family’s home was targeted in an arson attack last July.

Five-year-old Dawabsha lost his entire family — parents Saad and Riham and 18-month-old brother Ali — in the firebombing of their home in the village of Duma by suspected Jewish terrorists.

Nasser Dawabsha, Ahmed’s uncle, told Ma’an News that the young boy is improving, and that the Palestinian Authority is trying to get him sent abroad for more medical treatment.

Ahmed sustained second- and third-degree burns over 60 percent of his body and underwent a total of 10 surgeries, including skin grafts.

Saad and Riham Dawabsha, with baby Ali. All three died when the Dawabsha home in the West Bank village of Duma was firebombed, by suspected Jewish extremists, on July 31, 2015 (Channel 2 screenshot)
Saad and Riham Dawabsha, with baby Ali. All three died when the Dawabsha home in the West Bank village of Duma was firebombed, by suspected Jewish extremists, on July 31, 2015 (Channel 2 screenshot)

He has been recovering from his injuries in an Israeli hospital over the past eight months.

The uncle also said that the young Dawabsha still does not entirely comprehend that his brother and parents have passed away, but he does know that “they are in heaven,” reported Ma’an News.

Ahmed recently returned from Spain, where he visited Real Madrid’s training camp, and met the Spanish soccer team’s star player Christiano Ronaldo.

Moved by images of the bandaged boy wearing a Real Madrid jersey, Palestinians campaigned for months on social media to persuade the team to meet Ahmed.

Team spokesman Raul Serrano Quevedo said the team agreed to host the boy after receiving a request from the Palestinian Embassy.

A Palestinian police member inspects the damage inside a burned-out house belonging to a key witness to an arson attack last year by Jewish extremists that killed a Palestinian family, in the West Bank village of Duma, after fire broke out in the home in the early hours of March 20, 2016. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
A Palestinian police member inspects the damage inside a burned-out house belonging to a key witness to an arson attack last year by alleged Jewish extremists that killed a Palestinian family, in the West Bank village of Duma, after fire broke out in the home in the early hours of March 20, 2016. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

 

Amiram Ben-Uliel, 21, has been charged with the murder of the Dawabsha family. An unnamed minor has been charged as an accomplice in the attack.

On Sunday, the home of the sole alleged witness to the attack of Ahmed’s home, Ibrahim Dawabsha, caught fire in what local residents described as a deliberate attack. But the Israel Police and Shin Bet, in a joint statement Sunday night, said mounting evidence indicated that Sunday’s fire was not a nationalistic attack.

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