Police Arrest Second Suspect in Mosque Arson

Police arrest second suspect in arson of the mosque in Tuba Zangriya.

Contact Editor
Elad Benari,

Aftermath of mosque fire
Aftermath of mosque fire
Israel news photo: Panet.co.il

Police on Sunday arrested a second suspect in the torching of a mosque in the Bedouin village of Tuba Zangriya last week.

IDF Radio reported that the suspect is a 20-year-old who lives in Judea and Samaria.

Another suspect in the arson was arrested last week. The man, a resident of northern Israel, was arrested several hours after the mosque was torched while he was staying in the city of Ariel in Samaria. He was detained because he had been wanted for questioning about an incident from about six months ago, and only several hours later did the police decide to also question him about the arson in the mosque.

The mosque in Tuba Zangriya was torched last week, and an initial inquiry at the site found some graffiti in Hebrew scrawled on the walls of the mosque. It said “revenge” and “price tag,” among other things.

In response, the village’s residents rioted and set fire to the local municipal building, community center and clinic.

Over the weekend, vandalism was discovered at two cemeteries in Yafo. Unknown people spray painted “death to the Arabs” and “price tag” on the walls of two cemeteries, one Christian and one Muslim.

Homeland Security Minister Matan Vilnai said on Saturday he was certain that nationalist Jews were responsible for the vandalism, but Yiftach Region Police Commander David Gez confirmed on Sunday that it is not yet clear who was behind the graffiti and stressed that the acts were not necessarily a ‘price tag’ operation. He said that police suspect that teenagers are behind the act.

The reason for this suspicion, Gez explained, is that police also found graffiti associated with the fans of the Maccabi Haifa soccer team.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denounced on Sunday both the attacks on the cemeteries as well as the firebombing of a synagogue in Yafo on Saturday night.

“Israel will not tolerate any vandalism, especially one that is directed against religious feelings,” Netanyahu said. “We will act with determination to find those who try to hurt co-existence.”

Netanyahu noted that he had instructed security forces to swiftly bring those responsible for all attacks to justice.