Two Jewish Israelis indicted in Duma firebomb attack

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two Jewish Israelis have been indicted for the murder of thee members of a Palestinian family in a firebomb attack on their West Bank home.

Israeli prosecutors filed the indictments in the July 31 arson attack in Lod District Court on Sunday, when a gag order was lifted on some details of the case.

The main suspect charged in the case was named as Amiram Ben-Uliel, 21, of Jerusalem, who was charged with three counts of murder, according to Israel Police.

A minor, who cannot be named because of his age, also was charged as an accessory to murder, the police said in a statement.

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Other charges were filed against Yinon Reuveni, 20, for an arson attack in June on the Church of Loaves and Fishes in the Galilee; Reuveni also was charged with an arson attack on a building near Jerusalem’s Dormition Abbey more than a year ago, and two other minors also were charged in that attack.  Another minor was charged in a series of incidents of vandalism and arson.

According to the indictment, Ben-Uliel admitted to planning and carrying out the Duma attack and said it was in retaliation for the murder of Malachi Rosenfeld in June in a drive by shooting by Palestinian attackers in the West Bank on a road near Duma.

The police said in a statement that Ben-Uliel and his alleged accessory reenacted the July 31 attack, in which he allegedly spray painted graffiti including “vengeance” and “long live the Messiah” on the house before throwing firebombs through the window. Three members of the Dawabshe family — a toddler and his parents — were killed in the attack. One child remains hospitalized and faces a difficult rehabilitation.

Ben-Uliel reportedly was detained by the Shin Bet security service on December 1. His father Reuven is the rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Karmei Zur, where he grew up. He was active in the movement to save the Ramat Migron outpost. Since the arson attack, Ben-Uliel and his wife, who was also a settlement outpost activist, moved to Jerusalem where they had a baby and became haredi Orthodox.

Ben-Uliel’s family has said they believe that he is innocent and that he confessed to the crime due to torture during questioning.

The Shin Bet has denied allegations of torture, though it has acknowledged that the interrogations included extraordinary actions, including “moderate physical pressure,” approved and overseen by the relevant government authorities.

In its statement the police hailed the “extraordinary cooperation among the security agencies” during what it called a “complex investigation.”

“The investigation was of national importance and came to an end with the filing of indictments,” the police said. “In the fight against terrorism there are no shortcuts.”

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