Palestinian baby dies in fire started by Israeli settlers: officials

File picture shows a Palestinian boy going into a building on which Hebrew graffiti has been daubed, allegedly by Jewish settlers, in the Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank (AFP Photo/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

Nablus (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - An 18-month-old Palestinian baby died and its parents were injured in a fire started by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, Palestinian security officials said Friday.

Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon labelled the attack an "act of terrorism."

"The fire and the murder of the Palestinian toddler is an act of terrorism," Yaalon said in a statement, after the attack in the village of Doma, near Nablus.

"We will not allow terrorists to take the lives of Palestinians."

Four settlers set a house on fire at the entrance of the village and scrawled graffiti on a wall before fleeing to a neighbouring settlement, the sources said.

Extreme-right Israeli activists have committed acts of vandalism and violence against Palestinians and Arab Israelis for years, attacking Christian and Muslim places of worship and even Israeli soldiers.

The attacks are known "price tag" violence -- a euphemism for nationalist-motivated hate crimes by Jewish extremists aimed at Arab property.

West Bank settlements are major impediments to peace negotiations with the Palestinians, who see the land as part of a future independent state, and Western nations have called on Israel to halt such projects.