Settlers torch Palestinian home in revenge for killing

Reuters, SINJIL, West Bank

Fri, Nov 15, 2013 - Page 6

Israeli settlers yesterday set fire to a Palestinian house, leaving behind a message saying they were avenging the death of an Israeli soldier killed by a Palestinian the previous day, residents said.

Several Palestinian children were treated for smoke inhalation and the house in the village of Sinjil in the occupied West Bank, was extensively damaged.

“Regards to Eden, Revenge!” the attackers spray-painted on an outside wall of the home, a reference to Eden Attias, an Israeli soldier who was stabbed to death on a bus by a 16-year-old Palestinian in the Israeli city of Afula on Wednesday.

The incidents add to simmering violence that has dogged US-sponsored peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians that resumed in July. Fourteen Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed since the negotiations began.

Residents of the home that came under attack said four or five settlers struck at night, breaking windows and pouring gasoline on the patio.

“Suddenly there was fire everywhere, spilling into the kitchen,” said Ruwaida Dar Khalil, the mother of the household. “We were terrified. We took our young children to hospital after they breathed in the smoke. Thank God they are all right.”

An Israeli police spokesman said it was investigating the attack and had identified a number of suspects.

In July, the Israeli defense ministry announced a crackdown on settler vandals, saying they were tantamount to terrorists and their attacks could fan sectarian violence.