Tensions High After Mother of Killed Palestinian Toddler Dies of Wounds

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters/Hamodia) -

The mother of a Palestinian toddler killed in a July arson attack died on Monday of her burns, the third fatality after her husband succumbed to his injuries last month.

Palestinian leaders reacted with inflammatory statements and demands for revenge.

Hamas spokesman Husam Badran called for attacks on Israel in a statement broadcast on Monday.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared three official days of mourning in response to the mother’s death. Soon after the announcement by medical authorities, Palestinians gathered in the family’s home village of Duma, calling for a “day of rage” throughout the Palestinian territories after Friday prayers.

Marchers in the funeral procession could be heard chanting for Hamas to avenge their blood. Thousands attended the funeral, and later about a hundred threw rocks at Israeli soldiers nearby who responded with rubber bullets, the military said.

Suspected Jewish attackers torched the family’s home on July 31, but ongoing Shin Bet and police investigations, including an unprecedented crackdown on alleged members of Jewish terrorist groups, has yet to result in arrests of the perpetrators.

Pressure on Israel came from outside the country as well. U.N. envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov expressed concern on Monday that the authorities haven’t found the killers.

“Acknowledging the wide condemnations issued at the time of the incident by Israeli and Palestinian leaders, I am nevertheless concerned by the lack of progress in identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators of this outrage,” Mladenov said.

A gag order on the case has prevented security forces from releasing any details of what progress has been made, except to say that no conclusion has been reached.

Two Jews have been placed under so-called administrative detention, police custody without trial, for up to six months, but police would not confirm or deny that they had anything to do with the Duma arson.

The last remaining family member is 4-year-old son Ahmad, who is still undergoing treatment for severe burns at an Israeli hospital. A relative of the family, Amjad Dawabsheh, told Israeli Army Radio on Monday that relatives have not told the boy what happened to the rest of his family.

“How can we tell him, ‘Your father and mother and brother died?’” he said.

In a separate case, Israeli police said on Monday that two Israeli activists, an 18-year-old and a minor, were indicted on suspicion of setting fire to a Bedouin tent in Yehudah and Shomron last month to protest police raids on alleged Jewish extremists. No one was injured in the attack.