Four Acre men are under arrest on suspicion of engineering a deadly explosion at a building in the Old City last month, police said on Thursday.
The suspects, Omar Halwani, 18, Haled Bukai, 19, Muhammad Jirhi, 27, and Ahmed Hatib, 22, lived either in the building or nearby and face charges of felony murder – causing death through the commission of a crime. The four were hurt in the blast.
Police in the Coastal District suspect the four men caused the blast in an effort to damage a cellular antenna on top of the building that was said to cause health problems for residents of the Old City.
Over the past several years there have been attempts to destroy the antenna.
After the blast last month, police said they believed the tragedy was caused when someone placed an explosive on top of the building or triggered a gas explosion to take down the antenna.
The four suspects denied any connection to the blast. Attorney Shadi Dabah, who is representing the four, told The Jerusalem Post that two of them were residents of the building hurt in the collapse and that the other two lived nearby, and ran to the site to help rescue residents when they were hurt and arrested by police.
Police are trying to determine whether the four men acted alone or were sent by someone else to commit the sabotage that caused the collapse.
The blast on February 17 left five residents of the building dead: Muhammad Bader, 43, and his wife, Hannan, 38; Janach Sarhan, 51, her husband, Rayik, 55, and their son, Nassar a-Din, age eight.