J'lem: Police make two arrests in arson cases

July 4, 2012 15:43

One of the two minors arrested says he set multiple fires and was inspired by a Sopranos-style television show.

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Firefighters outside Jerusalem 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Police announced Wednesday that they have arrested two Jewish youth for allegedly setting a number of fires in open fields around southeast Jerusalem in the past few months.

During the investigation, one of the youth admitted he set multiple fires, and was inspired by the television show "HaBorer" (The Arbitrator), a Sopranos-style show based on the Israeli underworld.

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He also implicated the other suspect, who eventually admitted to setting a fire on June 2 in Arnona, during which three cars were burnt and residents were evacuated from nearby buildings.

The first suspect was released on conditions, and the second suspect was remanded in the Jerusalem magistrate court on Wednesday.

More than a dozen people have been arrested in connection with arson in wadis and open areas around Jerusalem in the past two months. Firefighters dealt with 1,058 incidents of fires in open areas for six weeks in May and June.

Firefighters have determined that arson was responsible for at least 70 percent of those incidents. On average there are 4,000 incidents a year of fires in open areas and forests in the Jerusalem district.

Police and firefighters determined that last week's string of fires at the entrance of Jerusalem was at least partially caused by arson.

A week after a large brush fire burned more than 100 dunams at the entrance to Jerusalem, another fire broke out in the Emek HaArezim (Valley of the Pines) in the same area on Wednesday morning. A number of fire crews are en route to the fire, which has produced heavy smoke.

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