JERUSALEM (JTA) – Two Jewish-Israelis have been indicted in the deadly firebombing of a Palestinian family’s home in the West Bank village of Duma.
Israeli prosecutors filed the indictments in Lod District Court on Sunday, when a gag order was lifted on some details of the July 31 arson attack case.
The main suspect is Amiram Ben-Uliel, 21, of Jerusalem, who was charged with three counts of murder, according to Israel Police. Three members of the Dawabshe family – an 18-month-old boy and his parents – were killed in the firebombing.
A minor, who cannot be named because of his age, also was charged as an accessory to murder, the police said in a statement.
According to the indictment, Ben-Uliel admitted to planning and carrying out the Duma attack. He said it was in retaliation for the murder of Malachi Rosenfeld, 25, 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 returned to the scene of the Duma attack and walked them through its events, in which he allegedly spray-painted graffiti including “vengeance” and “long live the Messiah” on the house before throwing firebombs through the window. Along with the three deaths, a child remains hospitalized and faces a difficult rehabilitation.
Members of Ben-Uliel’s family say they believe he is innocent and that he confessed to the crime because he was tortured during questioning.
The Shin Bet has denied allegations of torture, though it has acknowledged the interrogations included extraordinary actions, including “moderate physical pressure” that was approved and overseen by the relevant government authorities.
Ben-Uliel reportedly was detained by the Shin Bet security service on Dec. 1. His father, Reuven, is the rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Karmei Zur, where he grew up. The younger Ben Uliel was active in the movement to save the Ramat Migron outpost. Since the arson attack, he and his wife, who also was a settlement outpost activist, moved to Jerusalem, where they had a baby and became haredi Orthodox.
In its statement, the police hailed the “extraordinary co-operation 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.”
Also Sunday, in the same court, charges were filed against Yinon Reuveni, 20, for an arson attack in June on the Church of Loaves and Fishes in the Galilee. Reuveni and two minors also was charged with another arson attack in Jerusalem more than a year ago. Another minor was charged in a series of incidents of vandalism and arson.