WATCH: The death of a child in the West Bank has sparked outrage. Emily Elias reports.
A Palestinian toddler has been laid to rest after being burned to death inside his home Thursday night in what has been called act of terrorism linked to Jewish extremists.
The 18-month-old boy was “burned to ash,” according to a Palestinian worker with the Red Crescent, after Molotov cocktails were thrown inside his family’s West Bank home.
The early investigation indicates there were two people involved in the attack, the Times of Israel reported Friday. A second home was also vandalized and torched in the attack, but no one was inside at the time.
The boy’s father was able to escape with his wife and four-year-old son, but was not able to rescue the baby, identified as Ali Dawabsha, TOI reported the unnamed Palestinian medic saying.
Charred pictures of the once smiling boy were found scattered amid clothing, a baby bottle and other belongings inside the remains of the Dawabsha family home, as neighbors recounted what happened.
“We found the parents outside with burns. They said there was another son in the house. We brought him out and then they said there was another boy inside, but we couldn’t reach the bedroom because of the fire. He was left inside until rescue forces came,” Ibrahim Dawabsheh told Reuters.
Dawabsheh said he saw “two masked men” outside the home, but they had fled by the time he returned from trying to get help.
WATCH: Suspected Jewish assailants attacked a Palestinian village in the West Bank early Friday, killing a young child and critically wounding his family.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the mother and surviving son at the Sheba Medical Center, about nine kilometres east of Tel Aviv, where they are being treated for severe burns; the father is reported to be in critical condition at the Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.
Netanyahu said the boy, named Ahmed Sa’ed, suffered burns to 60 per cent of his body.
“We’re doing everything we can to save this young boy, give him a life,” the Jerusalem Post reported Netanyahu saying.
The Prime Minister later said he spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — who has called the attack a “crime against humanity.” Netanyahu demanded an International Criminal Court investigation into the attack and promised “Israel’s absolute commitment to find the perpetrators.
“There is zero tolerance for terrorism, whatever side of the fence it comes from, we have to fight it and fight it together.”
The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has also labeled the boy’s killing as “Jewish terror.”
The Dawashba family’s home, in the village of Duma, near the city of Nablus and a short distance away from the Jewish settlement of Migdalim, was spray painted with a Star of David and the word “revenge” and “long live the Messiah” in Hebrew, Haaretz reported.
“This attack against Palestinian civilians is a barbaric act of terrorism,” IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a tweet.
Riyad al-Maliki, a senior Palestinian Authority official, criticized Israel’s response to attack.
“We refuse to accept any official Israeli condemnation of the terrorist crime; they hold direct responsibility for the crime by their ongoing silence and deliberate ignoring and rejection of labeling these groups as terrorists,” Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported al-Maliki saying.
International response to ‘price tag’ attack
David J.Cape of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, in Ottawa, said young Ali was “senselessly murdered.”
“Those who attack Palestinians in so-called ‘price tag’ raids not only threaten innocent lives, they violate the fundamental values of Israelis. Indeed, we note that Israeli leaders across the political spectrum, including leaders of the settler movement, have denounced this attack in the harshest of terms,” Cape said in a statement.
A so-called price tag attack refers to an act of revenge carried out by a group of Israeli settlers in “retribution for acts against settlements,” Ynetnews reported, noting it was the “worst attack by Israeli extremists” since last year’s retaliatory kidnapping and burning death of 16-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir.
Three Israeli Jews — two of them minors — were arrested and are on trial for abducting Khdeir and burning him alive. The teen’s death followed the kidnapping and murders of three Jewish teens, on their way home from a religious school to the Israeli Settlement in the West Bank where they lived.
The murders of Khdeir and Israeli teens Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrah — all three shot to death — fuelled already volatile tensions between Palestinians and Israel, and led to Israeli bombing Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, that spiraled into a 50-day conflict and retaliatory bombings.
More than 2,200 Palestinians died during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge — 1,483 of them civilians. Five Israeli civilians and 67 IDF soldiers died during the conflict.
In the wake of Thursday’s attack, Israeli authorities have warned leaders in West Bank settlements to be on alert in the wake of the fire-bombing of the Dawashba family’s home, while police in Jerusalem are on the “highest level of alert,” Times of Israel reported.