Israel cites 'lack of evidence' in deadly arson attack

Israeli public minister says investigation ongoing to gather evidence over Duma arson attack

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Israeli soldiers and policemen secure the area near the body of a Palestinian killed by the military after they said there had been a shooting attack in the West Bank, at an Israeli checkpoint near the West Bank village of Hizma, south-east of Ramallah

Israeli Public Security Minister said on Friday that Israel is still trying to gather evidence against far-right Jews over a deadly arson attack on a Palestinian home in the occupied West Bank in July.

Israeli police announced on Thursday that several youths belonging to a “Jewish terror group” were in custody and led to a breakthrough in the deaths of three Dawabsheh family members.

The killing angered Palestinians which stirred a wave of stabbing assaults since Oct. 1, between Israelis and Palestinians.

Details on the arson case have been kept under wraps by Israel, drawing Palestinian allegations of foot-dragging, while lawyers for the suspects said their clients were pressured by interrogators to confess. Israeli authorities deny both charges.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Israel's Army Radio that "There are not many investigations that get as high a priority as the investigation into the murders in Duma village."

Erdan eluded to give further information except describing the suspects as “very, very difficult” to crack.

"For example, these are not people who go around with mobile telephones," he said. "They are people who really live in the hills, disconnected from their close families."

Still, Erdan said, "the Shin Bet (security service) and police made progress in this investigation in recent months and we are doing everything in order that we might also have evidence that would allow prosecution and indictments."

Since Oct. 1, stabbings, car-rammings and shootings between Israeli-Palestinian people have killed 19 Israelis and a United States citizen. Meanwhile, at least 101 Palestinians have been killed in the same period.

TRTWorld and agencies