vandalism at Jerusalem mosque_311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
An 12th-century mosque in the capital was burned and covered with anti-Arab
graffiti on Wednesday morning.
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Police believe it was the latest “price
tag” attack, committed by extremists angry at government plans to dismantle
unauthorized West Bank outposts.
No one was injured.
Akashi mosque, on Strauss Street in downtown Jerusalem, is used by the
municipality to store gardening supplies.
Vandals broke into the mosque
and tried to set it on fire. The building was badly burned on one side but not
structurally damaged. The walls were covered with graffiti, among which were “A
good Arab is a dead Arab,” “price tag,” “Muhammad is dead” and “Muhammad is a
The criminals also wrote “Mitzpe Yitzhar,” the name of an illegal
outpost near Nablus. Parts of that outpost, along with parts of the Ramat Gilad
outpost on the outskirts of the Karnei Shomron settlement, are set to be
Officials were quick to condemn the
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat visited the mosque on Wednesday
morning. “We have zero tolerance for any type of violence,” he said.
is appalling... Hopefully the police will find whoever it is and put them where
they belong,” he later told The Jerusalem Post.
On Wednesday afternoon,
police took six right-wing activists in for questioning in connection with
crimes with nationalistic motives, including the recent spate of “price tag”
attacks. The police’s presence in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood of Jerusalem
drew dozens of young activists, and a short scuffle ensued with activists trying
to get into the activists’ apartment.
Police also removed what they
termed “suspicious objects” they believe are connected to the crimes. The six
men were in detention on Wednesday night.
Three fire crews quickly put
out the blaze, but it had already caused significant smoke damage, and some
outside walls were blackened.
Investigators said that material gathered
from the site pointed to arson. Police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency)
opened a joint investigation.
In addition, two Palestinian vehicles were
set on fire in the West Bank early on Wednesday.
Police increased their
presence in Jerusalem and the West Bank following the rise in the number of
A vehicle was torched in the Palestinian village of
Haras overnight, and far-right graffiti was spray painted on it. In the village
of Yassuf, hate-graffiti was spray-painted on a Palestinian home.
village of Duma, 25 km. southeast of Nablus, two trucks were set on fire. The
words “price tag” and the name of the Mitzpe Yitzhar outpost were spray-painted
in large black letters on the nearby sidewalk.
In Tel Aviv, far-right
graffiti was spray-painted on a police vehicle used for crowd control, and an
IDF office was vandalized with graffiti as well.
Meanwhile, 15 suspects
arrested earlier this week for breaking through the fence on the Jordanian
border are due to appear before the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Friday for a
second remand hearing.
“We’re seeing one incident sparking another
rapidly,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. “We have stepped up patrols in
the West Bank and in east Jerusalem, to prevent any other incidents, but [these
attacks are] obviously flowing to areas where they would not normally take
In recent weeks, four suspects were charged for a variety of
vandalism and arson offenses, representing the first indictments brought by
prosecutors over such incidents.
Lahav Harkov and Tovah Lazaroff
contributed to this report.