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Palestinian baby dies in attack
31 Jul 2015 22:10
UN chief Ban Ki-moon has condemned the killing of an 18-month-old baby in an arson attack by suspected Jewish settlers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
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Mr Ban called on the perpetrators of what he called a "terrorist act" to face justice, and expressed condolences for the family of the dead baby, Ali Saad Dawabsha.
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"The Secretary-General strongly condemns today's murder of a Palestinian child in the West Bank and calls for the perpetrators of this terrorist act to be promptly brought to justice," a spokesperson for Mr Ban said.
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"He expresses his deepest condolences to the family of Ali Dawabsha, who were themselves severely injured in the arson attack."
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According to Palestinian security officials, four suspected settlers set fire to the family's house before dawn before fleeing to a nearby Jewish settlement.
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The Israeli military and army radio said a total of two homes had been torched by two masked men, with the child killed and four family members wounded, including the baby's parents and four-year-old brother.
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Graffiti reading "revenge" had been written in Hebrew.
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The attack added to tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, sparking protests by hundreds of people and sporadic clashes, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare call to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in a bid to avoid further escalation.
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Mr Ban said he "urges both sides to take bold steps to return to the path of peace."
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"Continued failures to effectively address impunity for repeated acts of settler violence have led to another horrific incident involving the death of an innocent life. This must end," he added.
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"The absence of a political process and Israel's illegal settlement policy, as well as the harsh and unnecessary practice of demolishing Palestinian houses, has given rise to violent extremism on both sides."
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