JERUSALEM - The head of a Jewish extremist group, Meir Ettinger, was arrested on Monday following the death of a Palestinian baby in a firebombing in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Ettinger is a grandson of Meir Kahane, a rabbi who founded the racist anti-Arab movement Kach and was assassinated in 1990 in New York.

He was arrested in Safed in northern Israel “because of his activities in a Jewish extremist organisation”, a spokesman for the domestic intelligence service Shin Bet told AFP.

A police spokeswoman said Ettinger, who is aged around 20, was suspected of “nationalist crimes” but did not accuse him of direct involvement in Friday’s firebombing. According to Israeli media, he was the brains behind a June 18 arson attack on a shrine in northern Israel where Christians believe Jesus performed the miracle of loaves and fishes. He was to appear in court on Tuesday for a custody hearing, police said.

Media reports said Ettinger could face a year of “administrative detention” under the government’s harder line against “Jewish terrorists”.

The Shin Bet spokesman said Ettinger was in January barred from entering the West Bank or Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem for a whole year “because of his activities”.