Burned car belonging to Rabbi Lior's wife
Burned car belonging to Rabbi Lior's wifePhoto: Israel Police Spokesman

The Jerusalem District Prosecutor's Office amended the indictment filed against Muhammad Abu Ghanem, 57, who is suspected of setting fire to Rabbi Dov Lior's car in the Beit Orot neighborhood of Jerusalem.

A section was added to the indictment describing the penetration of smoke from the burning vehicle into an adjacent building. The amendment takes into account the great risk to the Jewish families living in the building. Neither Rabbi Lior nor his wife were home at the time. Suffering from cancer, smoke inhalation could have proven devastating for Rabbi Lior's wife.

In the original indictment, Abu Ghanem was accused of arson, two counts of attempted arson, manufacture of weapons, and willfully damaging a vehicle. The motive for the crime was racism. According to the indictment, Abu Ghanem decided to set fire to a car in the Beit Orot parking lot in the A-Tur neighborhood in Jerusalem, near the Mount of Olives.

Police investigation revealed that Abu Ghanem arrived at the parking lot on the night of July 22 armed with a plastic bottle with a flammable substance in it, and another bottle with unknown content. He tried unsuccessfully to pour the flammable substance on a white Hyundai to set it on fire.

The next day, he went to the Rockefeller Archaeology Museum that is affiliated with the Israel Museum and where the offices of the Antiquities Authority are located. He threw a Molotov cocktail past the museum gate, which caught fire, and left the site.

From there, he continued to the Beit Orot parking lot, poured a flammable substance onto the Mazda belonging to Rabbi Dov Lior's wife, and set it on fire. He then left the parking lot.

Section 9 of the indictment was amended to include a description of the smoke infiltration into the Jewish complex: "As a result of the defendant's actions, the vehicle caught fire and the front of it was completely burned. Smoke from the fire entered the adjacent building's apartments. Firefighters arrived at the scene and extinguished the fire."

Attorney Haim Bleicher from the Honenu organization, who is representing Rabbi Dov Lior’s family, said, "This is an act of terrorism that miraculously did not end in disaster. We will accompany the case and demand, on behalf of the victims, that the terrorist be given a severe punishment."