Police arrest 4 suspects in mosque graffiti case

Yeshiva youths do not appear to be part of an organized extremist cell, police say.

June 11, 2010 02:36
1 minute read.
Star of David graffiti on a mosque.

Graffiti on mosque 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

Four yeshiva youths arrested by police on Wednesday on suspicion of spraying graffiti on a mosque in the northern village of Ivteen “were influenced by the Gaza flotilla” and “events in the West Bank,” but do not appear to be part of an organized extremist cell, the detective leading the investigation told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Officers from the Coastal Police’s central unit arrested the four men, who study at a yeshiva at Kfar Hassidim, one day after a Star of David – as well as the messages “There will be war over Judea and Samaria “ and “This structure is marked for demolition” – were spray-painted on the mosque’s wall.

Dep.-cmdr. Michael Shafshek, head of the Coastal Police central unit, said the arrests were made after “we received initial information that referred to them as the suspects. From this stage, we acted immediately, making the arrests and conducting searches.”

After being questioned Wednesday night at the central unit’s offices in Haifa, the suspects appeared before a Haifa Magistrate’s Court for a remand hearing on Thursday. The court extended their custody by six days.

“They were influenced by the Gaza flotilla, and by events in the West Bank,” Shafshek said, referring to recent clashes between settlers and security forces in Beit El over the demolition of two illegal structures.

“But this does not appear to be a well-planned act or part of a systematic activity,” he added.

“I would like to stress that we are still at the beginning of the investigation,” Shafshek said.

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