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Israel to release Duma arsonist from prison

Israel arsonist settler Meir Ettinger (R) talks to his lawyer (L) as he stands at the Israeli justice court in Nazareth Illit on August 4, 2015.

An Israeli court has ruled for the release of Meir Ettinger, an Israeli settler who was behind the burning to death of a Palestinian family in the West Bank.

Ettinger will be freed on June 1, a court ruled on Tuesday, after being detained for eight months without being charged for leading a terror group.

The ruling came as the Israeli Security Agency decided not to extend Ettinger’s detention.

The 24-year-old settler was arrested in August 2015 for leading Israeli attackers who firebombed a Palestinian home and killed three members of the family. The victims were an 18-month-old boy and his parents.

The security agency, also known as Shin Bet, said Ettinger leads a group of young people suspected of carrying out a series of hate crimes against Palestinians and Christians.

According to the agency, Ettinger’s group was behind an attack on the historic Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in June 2015.

File photo shows a family member of 18-month-old child viewing the remains of a house after a fire which was started by a group led by Israeli settler Meir Ettinger, in the West Bank.

Shin Bet did not contest the release despite saying that Ettinger still remained a danger to public safety.

The agency said Ettinger’s release was an “issue of balance” between the threat he poses and the severity of holding him without charge.

Ettinger will face restrictions after his release and “security officials will evaluate the restrictions from time to time and will ease or intensify [them] in accordance with his conduct,” the agency noted.

In April, Israel’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling by a lower court against giving furlough to Ettinger to take part in a family ceremony on the ground that he was a security threat to the public.

Ettinger’s grandfather, controversial American-Israeli lobbyist Meir Kahane, founded the so-called Jewish Defense League in New York in 1968.

He was a radical figure who encouraged violence against Israel’s enemies and lobbied to expel Arabs from the occupied Palestinian territory. He became a member of Knesset and was later expelled from it.

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