Jul 31, 1:37 PM EDT

UN chief calls killing of Palestinian child `terrorist act'


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UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling the arson attack on a West Bank home that killed a Palestinian toddler a "terrorist act" and is blaming Israel's failure to punish repeated acts of settler violence for the tragedy.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Ban strongly condemns Friday's "murder" of 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh and calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

"The absence of a political process and Israel's illegal settlement policy, as well as the harsh and unnecessary practice of demolishing Palestinian houses, have given rise to violent extremism on both sides," Ban's spokesman said.

Suspected Jewish assailants set fire to a West Bank home on Friday and burned a sleeping Palestinian toddler to death in an attack that drew Palestinian rage and widespread Israeli condemnation.

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