Jewish extremists alleged to have carried out a firebombing attack on a Palestinian home, killing a toddler and his parents, are facing murder charges. Israel has been criticized for the slow pace of the investigation.
Israeli authorities issued a long-awaited indictment on Sunday against two Jewish extremists believed to have carried out the deadly arson attack on the Dawabsheh family as they slept in their West Bank home.
The July 31 attack in Duma, a village outside Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, helped to ignite smoldering Palestinian anger that has led to months of clashes and violence. Frustration with stalled peace talks, Israeli settlement building and control over the Al-Aqsa mosque complex have contributed to the violence.
The attack killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh, while his mother and father died later from wounds. Ali's 4-year-old brother was severely wounded and survived.
The words "revenge" and a Star of David were spray-painted on the wall of the home.
The main suspect behind the attack was named as Amiram Ben-Uliel, 21, while a minor was charged as an accessory. Yinon Reuveni, 20, and another minor were charged for other violence against Palestinians.
Jewish extremist attacks
The indictment comes after months of investigations into far-right Jewish extremist groups that had Palestinians angry over double standards. The slow pace of the investigation also drew criticism from the UN.
The international community and Israeli and Palestinian leaders condemned the attack as Israeli authorities vowed to crack down on Jewish extremism.
In response, the government authorized authorities to hold several suspects without charges, a practice usually reserved for Palestinians.
The attack has been linked to so-called "hill top" youth settlers, who set up illegal outposts in the West Bank. The Jewish extremists have been linked to what's referred to in Israel as "price tag" attacks on Palestinians, mosques and churches, pro-peace Israelis and the military.
Israel's Shin Bet security service said the suspects had admitted to the attack, part of what it described as a series of attacks over the years by right-wing extremists.
However, a lawyer for one of the suspects said his client had been forced to make a confession after being subjected to sleep deprivation and tied upside down by his feet.
cw/se (AFP, AP, dpa)