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Israeli settlers torch Palestinian house in West Bank

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This picture, taken on July 31, 2015, shows Palestinians looking at the house set on fire by Israeli settlers where 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Sa’ad Dawabsheh died in the occupied West Bank town of Duma. (© AFP)

Israeli settlers have set fire to a Palestinian house in the south-central part of the occupied West Bank in an apparent act of hate crime as tensions continue across the occupied territories.

Hassan Barijiya, the coordinator of the popular committee to resist the separation wall in Bethlehem, said a group of settlers from the illegal Neve Daniel settlement torched the house belonging to Mohannad Sa’ad Salah in the town of Khadr, located five kilometers (3.1 miles) west of Bethlehem, on Thursday evening, while he and his family members were outside.

Earlier in the day, the exterior walls of the house had been daubed with graffiti and Israeli settlers had hurled stones at it, while Salah, his wife and their daughters were inside.

The graffiti read “Death to Arabs” and “Leave” among other threatening writings.

Israeli settlers have frequently attacked Salah’s house in an attempt to force the family to leave their property and further expand their illegal settlement.

Tensions have been on the rise in the occupied Palestinian territories during past months as Israeli forces and illegal settlers have increased their violence against Palestinian people.

Last November, a young Palestinian man (shown below) was burned to death after a group of illegal Israeli settlers mercilessly beat him and then set fire to his car in the northern part of the occupied Palestinian territories.

The charred body of the 22-year-old Palestinian man, identified as Fadi Hoosh, was found inside a car in the garbage dump of Kafr Kanna town, which lies in the northern region of Galilee, on November 20, 2015.

On July 31, 2015, 18-month-old Palestinian baby boy Ali Sa’ad Dawabsheh lost his life in a large fire that broke out after extremist Israeli settlers threw firebombs and Molotov cocktails into two Palestinian houses in the town of Duma, located 25 kilometers (15 miles) southeast of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.

The toddler’s mother, Riham Dawabsheh, also succumbed to the severe burn injuries she sustained in the incident on September 5.

Palestinians visit the graves of Dawabsheh family, whose house was set on fire by Israeli settlers on July 31, 2015, killing an 18-month-old Palestinian boy, the mother Riham and the father Sa’ad, in the occupied West Bank village of Duma on September 24, 2015 on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. (© AFP)

Riham, who had also lost her 32-year-old husband, Sa’ad Dawabsheh, in the assault, was pronounced dead after spending five weeks on life support at Soroka Medical Center in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.

Her husband also died at the same hospital a week after the assault on August 8. He had been left with second-degree burns over more than 80 percent of his body.

The incident sparked angry reactions from Palestinians, including political and resistance groups. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also censured the arson attack as a “terrorist act,” calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

Israeli settlers have carried out various attacks against Palestinian property in the West Bank and al-Quds (Jerusalem) under the “price tag” slogan.

Price tag attacks are acts of vandalism and violence against Palestinians and their properties as well as Islamic holy sites.

A Palestinian protester holds stones as an Israeli vehicle drives down a road during clashes outside the compound of the Israeli-run Ofer Prison near Beitunia city in the occupied West Bank on March 4, 2016. (© AFP) 

The occupied territories have been the scene of heightened tensions due to Israel’s imposition in August 2015 of restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.

Nearly 200 Palestinians, including children and women, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the new spate of violence since the beginning of last October.

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