Palestinian child survivor of firebombing to meet C.Ronaldo

Palestinian boy who survived arson attack arrives in Spain to meet Real Madrid stars including his idol Cristiano Ronaldo

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Palestinian boy survivor of firebombing to meet his idol Cristiano Ronaldo.

A Palestinian boy who survived a firebombing by Israeli settlers that killed his parents and baby brother arrived Wednesday in Spain where he will meet Real Madrid stars including his idol Cristiano Ronaldo.

Five-year-old Ahmed Dawabsha, who has been recovering from his injuries over the past eight months, was welcomed at Madrid airport by a small group of well-wishers waving Palestinian flags.

A Real Madrid spokesman told AFP the boy, who wore a cap that covered his burns, would be received at the club's stadium on Thursday for a "private visit" that would be closed to the media.

Ahmed is expected to meet triple Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo, the Portuguese star of the football club who invited the boy to visit once he was well enough to make the trip.

Ahmed was the sole survivor from his immediate family from a July 2015 arson attack on their home in the village of Duma in the occupied West Bank.

The attack killed his 18-month-old brother Ali Saad Dawabsha and fatally wounded his parents. Ahmed was hospitalised with severe burns.

"He is doing better, but a lot of time and care is still needed for him to truly recover'', his grandfather Hussein Dawabsha said on Tuesday before heading to Spain with Ahmed.

The attack caused to spark international condemnation and worsen tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

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

Palestinian Football Association head Jibril Rajoub said Real Madrid was "restoring hope for a child who lost his entire family".

After Palestine was forcefully overtaken by Israel in 1967, many Palestinians have been revoked of their citizenship.

Only a very few percent of Palestinians are given residency permits allowing them to work in certain areas.

Israel has been criticised of using excessive force in dealing with the alleged stabbing attempts, where Palestinian deaths have been on the rise since October last year.

The bloodshed since then has claimed the lives of at least 190 Palestinians and some 28 Israelis, additionally a high number of Palestinians were also killed in protests against Israeli forces.