Video shows Jewish extremist reenacting deadly Duma firebombing
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Video shows Jewish extremist reenacting deadly Duma firebombing

Amiram Ben-Uliel charged with murder for the July attack that killed Dawabsha parents, baby

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Amiram Ben-Uliel, who was indicted Sunday, January 3, 2016, for murder in the killing of the Dawabsha family in Duma (courtesy)
Amiram Ben-Uliel, who was indicted Sunday, January 3, 2016, for murder in the killing of the Dawabsha family in Duma (courtesy)

The central suspect in the deadly firebombing of a Palestinian home in July of last year reenacted the attack two weeks ago, the Shin Bet security service said Sunday, and footage of the re-enactment emerged on Sunday evening.

Amiram Ben-Uliel, 21, admitted his crime to Shin Bet investigators and reenacted parts of it on December 19, the agency said. That information, however, was kept from the public under a gag order until Sunday when the indictments were filed. Ben-Uliel was charged with murder.

Ben-Uliel’s parents and wife insisted Sunday he was innocent, and his wife said a false confession had been beaten out of him. Security sources quoted by Hebrew media late Sunday said he supplied details of the crime, during the enactment, that only the perpetrator could have known.

In the late hours of July 30, 2015, Ben-Uliel set out for the West Bank village of Duma, armed with a bag full of ingredients for Molotov cocktails, spray-paint cans and other supplies, in order to carry out a pre-dawn attack in revenge for the killing of Israeli Malachy Rosenfeld the month before, the Shin Bet revealed on Sunday morning.

He was a member in an organization called Givonim, a subset of the Hilltop youth, a group of extremist Jewish activists. The Givonim seek to accomplish their goal of anointing a king over Israel by carrying out a violent coup against the government, and murdering or expelling from Israel all non-Jews, the Shin Bet said in a statement following the indictment of Ben-Uliel and his accomplice on Sunday.

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The 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha died in the July 31, 2015, attack. His parents, Saad and Riham Dawabsha, were evacuated with severe burns to Israeli hospitals, where they eventually succumbed to their wounds. His older brother Ahmed Dawabsha, who is still mostly confined to a wheelchair, was recently moved to a rehabilitation ward. He was only able to take his first steps on December 22, nearly five months after the attack.

Family photos lie in the remains of the Dawabsha home in the West Bank village of Duma, after it was firebombed by suspected Jewish extremists on July 31, 2015. The family's 18-month-old baby was killed in the attack and his father died of his injuries eight days later, on August 8, 2015. (YouTube screen capture)
Family photos lie in the remains of the Dawabsha home in the West Bank village of Duma, after it was firebombed by suspected Jewish extremists on July 31, 2015. The family’s 18-month-old baby was killed in the attack and his father died of his injuries eight days later, on August 8, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)

Ben-Uliel was supposed to meet another activist, a minor whose name has been withheld, at a cave near the village of Duma, located south of the city of Nablus and close to the Jewish settlements of Alon Moreh and Shilo.

The minor — referred to only by his Hebrew initials, Aleph Aleph — had assisted Ben-Uliel in collecting information about the layout of the village and had helped plan the firebombing attack, the indictment said. On the night, however, the minor did not make it to their meeting place in time, the Shin Bet said.

So at around midnight, Ben-Uliel went to Duma to carry out the attack by himself, the security service said, contradicting Palestinian claims made earlier in the investigation that two people were seen fleeing the village soon after the attack.

According to the Shin Bet account, Ben-Uliel arrived at the Palestinian village on foot and began searching for a house deep within it. He located two homes and allegedly sat down in the yard of one in order to craft the firebombs to be used in the attack.

Once his weapons were prepared, Ben-Uliel spray-painted the words “Revenge” and “Long live the Messiah king” on the walls of the house, the Israel Police said.

Graffiti outside the Dawabsha home in Duma that reads "Long live the Messiah king." (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)
Graffiti outside the Dawabsha home in Duma that reads “Long live the Messiah king.” (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)

“In one of the houses, the Dawabsha family was present at the time of the attack. The second house was empty of people,” police said once a long-standing gag order on the case was lifted.

Ben-Uliel then allegedly lobbed his firebombs into the two houses and fled the scene on foot, bound for his home in Jerusalem.

The minor, Aleph Aleph, who the Shin Bet said confessed to helping plan the firebombing, was charged Sunday as an accessory.

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