In a parking lot shared by a number of large apartment blocks, home to members of the Seret-Vizhnitz hasidic community, Arabs set fire to a number of vehicles on Ahavat Yisrael Street. The façade of one of the buildings subsequently caught fire, and the residents of the buildings – that is, those who had sufficient advance warning – were forced to evacuate their homes.
Around 60 Jews were taken to hospital for treatment, mostly for smoke inhalation.
The arson is believed to have occurred just before four o’clock in the morning, and was captured on one of the buildings’ security cameras. Footage shows a number of Arabs, their faces masked, approaching the parking lot, pouring a flammable liquid, and setting fire to a number of cars.
One of the buildings’ residents related to Arutz Sheva : “At four in the morning, I was woken up by the phone ringing. On the other end of the line I heard a friend of mine speaking, Moshe Tessler, who is an MDA ambulance driver. He told me, ‘Get out of bed right now, grab your kids, and get out of your house.’
“I asked him what had happened, and he told me, ‘Your building is on fire. Don’t ask questions! Get out right now!’
“By then I was starting to smell the smoke – an acrid smell of car tires burning. Then the explosions started – from the cars’ fuel tanks. A gas pipe in the parking lot also exploded. The façade of the building was starting to go up in flames. I grabbed my children and ran down the stairs. There I found dozens of my neighbors fleeing for their lives after having received similar telephone calls to mine.
“The fire began to spread, and many of my neighbors didn’t have time to make it down the stairs and were trapped in their homes. By then, the fire service had arrived and they gave the order for those still in their apartments to shut themselves in and seal their homes as best they could.
“After about an hour, the firefighters managed to get the blaze under control, but even so, 60 people, residents of the two buildings, and most of them children, had to be hospitalized for smoke inhalation.”