Israeli investigation disputes Palestinian claims that Jewish extremists were behind new Duma fire

(JTA) – Palestinian and Israeli officials are offering competing explanations for a fire that broke out next door to the West Bank home where three members of a Palestinian family were killed in an arson attack by Jewish extremists.

Reports of a fire early Wednesday morning near the house where three Palestinians were killed in last year’s firebombing sparked suspicions that Jewish terrorists were behind the new attack.

Palestinian Authority (PA) Civil Defense units extinguished Wednesday morning’s fire, which caused no injuries.

An Israel Police investigation so far has determined that the fire, believed to have been started when a Molotov cocktail was hurled at the house, resulted from a conflict between residents of the village and was not nationalistically motivated, the Jerusalem Post reported.

However, the homeowner and several Palestinian officials accused Jewish extremists of starting the fire. Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official, told the Post that Jewish settlers are “the primary suspects” and that the objects used to start the fire “are not available in the Palestinian market.”

In March, the home of another Duma resident – a key witness in last July’s firebombing – also caught fire. However, the Israel Police and Shin Bet security service said their investigation did not indicate arson.

Three people, including a baby, perished as a result of the July 2015 fire. Three defendants – two men and a minor – are currently standing trial for that incident.

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