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      Quick-Thinking Security Officers Head Off Arab 'Fire Libel'

      Arabs who set several fires in central Samaria may have been trying to smear area Jews for the destruction of an Arab olive grove
      By David Lev
      First Publish: 1/21/2013, 8:07 PM

      One of the fires set by Arabs outside Neria Monday
      One of the fires set by Arabs outside Neria Monday
      Matanya Aharonovich, Tazpit

      A group of Arabs set a fire next to the Samaria town of Neria Monday afternoon. A report by the Tazpit news agency said that the Arabs were seen setting the fire and running away.

      According to the report, the group of ten Arabs emerged from the nearby village of Mazra in the direction of Neria, Horesh, and Yaron, in the Talmonim Bloc area. The Arabs set four different fires, strategically located to spread quickly and engulf a large swath of territory.

      Fortunately, security staff in the towns were on patrol and noticed the fires while they were still small. Firefighting crews were able to douse the blazes before they spread.

      Officials said that the area of the fires included an Arab-owned olive grove. The officials said they suspected that the Arabs had planned to burn down the olive grove and then attempt to blame Jews from the area for the act. That tactic has been used repeatedly by Arabs, the officials said, and there have been many incidents in which Arabs set fires and destroyed olive trees, blaming it on Jews in the area.