Suspected Jewish extremists set Palestinian Bedouin family's tent afire

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Story highlights

  • Suspected Jewish extremists set a Palestinian Bedouin tent on fire in West Bank, official says
  • No one was hurt, but it comes at a time of increased tension after deadly arson attack

Ein Samia, West Bank (CNN)Suspected Jewish extremists set a tent belonging to a Palestinian Bedouin family on fire in an overnight arson attack, a Palestinian official told CNN on Thursday, two weeks after another arson on a Palestinian home killed a toddler and his father.

In the latest attack, a group of suspected Jewish extremists threw flammable material on the tent, said Ghassan Douglass, a Palestinian official in charge of monitoring settlement activity in the north of the West Bank. No one was hurt.
    The tent belonged to the family of Yousuf Ka'abna in the village of Ein Samia, northeast of Ramallah in the West Bank, Douglass said.
    Ka'abna told CNN his family had lived in the tent earlier but had moved down to other, cooler tents amid a recent heat wave. It still contained food, mattresses and bicycles, he said -- all now lost.
    The arson appears to have been the latest so-called price tag attack, a term used to denote reprisals against Palestinians, often in response to moves by the Israeli government to evacuate illegal West Bank outposts.
    The extremists spray-painted graffiti on the rocks by where the Bedouin tent was, reading "administrative revenge," Douglass said.
    It is an apparent reference to the administrative detention recently imposed on three right-wing Israeli extremists by the Israeli authorities.

    Heightened tensions

    Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said police had received a report of graffiti in Hebrew on a rock near a Bedouin encampment in Ein Samia overnight and that police and forensic investigators were on the scene collecting evidence.
    "As of this point, all directions are being examined. There is continuing exploration in the Shai region," she said.
    The latest attack comes at a time of heightened tensions following a July 31 attack in which the home of the Dawabsheh family was set on fire in the village of Duma, south of the West Bank town of Nablus.
    The fire killed 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsheh, and his father, Saad Dawabsheh, succumbed to his injuries Saturday. The boy's brother and mother remain in critical condition with severe burns.
    Thousands of people flocked to Duma for Saad Dawabsheh's funeral Saturday amid wide anger over the deaths.

    Right group: Bring extremists to justice

    Rabbis for Human Rights, in a statement, described the latest arson as a price tag attack and said it was fortunate that there were no people in the tent at the time.
    "It's time for the Israeli government to put all its effort in bringing right-wing Jewish extremists to justice, but administrative detentions are not the answer," it said.
    Both Israelis and Palestinians described the Duma arson as a terrorist attack, but the latter blamed Israel.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he'd ordered Israeli security forces to do all they could to bring those responsible to justice. But Palestinian officials accused the government of failing to take on Jewish extremists and fostering an atmosphere of support for settlers.
    Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered illegal under international law.
    Extremists have carried out dozens of price tag attacks since 2008.
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    Attacks have targeted Palestinian property, holy sites or individuals, and some have been deadly. Last summer, tensions soared after 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was abducted and killed in Jerusalem in what prosecutors said was retaliation for the deaths of three Israeli teens.
    Besides incidents classed as price tag attacks, Palestinians are subject to frequent violence at the hands of right-wing extremists in the West Bank, according to senior Palestinian figures.
    A report submitted at a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers by the Palestine Liberation Organization last week claimed that since 2004, Israeli settlers have carried out more than 11,000 attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.
    In one such apparent case Wednesday night, settlers attacked the village of Awarta, southeast of Nablus, according to the Voice of Palestine radio station, based in Ramallah. The Israel Defense Forces said it received a report of an attack, but soldiers arriving at the scene found no evidence of an assault.