State in plea bargain talks with teen accomplice in Duma terror attack

Agreement would see suspect admit to planning firebombing that killed 3 members of Dawabsha family in exchange for a conviction on reduced offenses

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

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

The State Prosecutor’s Office is in talks to reach a plea bargain with an alleged accomplice in the 2015 Duma terror attack, the suspect’s attorney said Thursday.

The agreement would see the 19-year-old, whose name is barred from publication as he was a minor at the time of the incident, admit to having been involved in planning the firebombing that killed toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha and his parents, Riham and Saad. In exchange, the suspect would be convicted of reduced offenses.

The January 2016 indictment against the Jewish teen saw him charged with membership in a terror organization and conspiring to commit a crime motivated by racism, in addition to several counts of racially motivated arson and vandalism.

No such deal is currently on the table for Amiram Ben-Uliel, the primary suspect charged with carrying out the firebombing. According to the indictment, Ben-Uliel planned the attack with the younger suspect, who for unknown reasons did not make it to the rendezvous point on the night of the firebombing.

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)

The younger suspect’s lawyer said that plea bargain talks were being held but that the sides had yet to reach an agreement. A spokesman for the State Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment on the record.

Last July, the Lod District Court released the alleged accomplice to house arrest less than two months after it threw out several confessions made by the teen because they were extracted under extreme duress by interrogators of the Shin Bet security service.

The court also quashed a number of confessions given by Ben-Uliel. However, Ben-Uliel’s remaining admissions of guilt that were not given under duress were apparently consequential enough that his attorney did not request a similar hearing requesting his release to house arrest.

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