State indicts East Jerusalem man for arson against City of David police station

The man sent his five-year-old child to set a fire on vegetation near the police station, in order to avoid suspicion and detection.

June 3, 2019 01:31
1 minute read.
Police officers during clashes in Silwan

Police officers during clashes in Silwan GALLERY. (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)

An east Jerusalem man was indicted in the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday for an arson that happened on May 23, directed at the police station near the City of David in Jerusalem.

In the indictment, filed by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office, 30-year-old “M.A.” from Silwan wanted to take advantage of the extreme heat wave hitting the country that led to disastrous fires in a variety of locations.

M.A. first sent his five-year-old child, A.A., to set fire on vegetation near the police station, in order to avoid suspicion and detection.

However, when A.A failed at setting the fire, M.A. came over and helped set the fire.

When he saw that the fire was spreading fast, he and his son fled the scene.

The fire caused significant damage to trees and vegetation as well as electricity infrastructure in the area.

Due to concerns that the fire might engulf the City of David, all of the tourists were briskly evacuated from the archaeological site until the fire was extinguished.

In another instance of arson, 29-year-old Amar Hamdan of Isawiya set off multiple fires in vegetation near Hadassah-University Medical Center and the Hebrew University on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus, and near a base for security forces in the area.

Despite Hamdan’s success in setting those fires, the fire department succeeded in extinguishing the fires before they hit their intended targets.

The prosecution requested that the court order both defendants to remain in police custody until the end of their trials.

During the heat wave, temperatures reached well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in areas across the country, leaving the state far more vulnerable to arson.

In November 2016, the country was hit with a wave of fires, including approximately 2,600 brush fires and 1,800 urban fires.

Though initially, the fires were attributed by many government officials to terrorism, over time the picture became less clear and very few arson indictments were issued.

To date it appears that the wave of fires in May did not come close to the destruction caused in 2016 and fewer fire-terror accusations were made, but Sunday’s indictments indicated that some of the fires were caused with terror-related intent.

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