JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Security Cabinet approved the use of administrative detention to hold those responsible for the West Bank firebombing that killed a Palestinian baby. The Security Cabinet “directs the security agencies to take all necessary steps to apprehend those responsible and prevent similar acts,” it said in a statement Sunday, Aug. 2, “including administrative detention where appropriate, with the approval of the Attorney General.” Under administrative detention, suspects can be held without charges or trial. Administrative detention can be renewed every six months indefinitely. Thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israel are being held under the measure, which is used to prevent terrorism.
Authorities suspect the arson attack early Friday morning, July 31, was carried out by two settlers from an illegal outpost in the east Shiloh area of the West Bank near the Palestinian village of Duma, where the attack took place. Israel has placed a media gag order on the case. At its meeting Sunday, Aug. 2, the security Cabinet called the firebombing “a terrorist attack in every respect.” The attack killed an 18-month-old boy and severely wounded other family members.
Earlier Sunday, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said he gave the go-ahead to security officials to hold Jewish suspects in the case under administrative detention.