Burned Tuba Zanghariya mosque 311.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Police have arrested a third suspect in the torching of a mosque in the Beduin village of Tuba Zanghariya in the Galilee in early October, police announced on Sunday.
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The suspect, a minor, was arrested on Friday and brought before the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Sunday morning, where his remand was extended by five days.
Police said Sunday that the minor is also a suspect in the torching of a mosque in the West Bank village of Fajar near Hebron in October 2010.
The minor’s attorney, Adi Kedar, said his client denies all charges against him, and is currently exercising his right to remain silent. Kedar, who represents the other two suspects in the arson, is on retainer from the organization “Honenu,” which represents Jews charged with acts of violence against Arabs.
Days after the torching of the Tuba Zanghariya mosque, police arrested the first of two additional suspects, both of whom are minors who study at a yeshiva in the West Bank.
Both suspects were released a week ago.
An entry on the Honenu website on Sunday read “we reiterate that last week two detainees who had been arrested, in a fanfare arrest, on suspicion of involvement in the mosque arson were released.
The two were released after an extended remand, and after investigators from the National Unit of Serious and International Crime Investigations did not succeed in bringing evidence linking them to the incident.
Sources close to the detainee who was arrested on Friday said that he is in the same boat as the other detainees: There is no evidence linking him to the incident either.”
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Sunday that it is still unclear what role the minor played in the arson, and that the investigation is still underway.
Rosenfeld added that the investigation was carried out by the special LAHAV investigative task force, which was set up to probe suspected ‘price tag’ incidents, the name given to acts of vandalism or violence carried out by Jewish extremists to protest government policies.
The torching of the mosque, one of several in the village, came as a shock to the residents of Tuba Zanghariya, known in part for its large number of local youths who enlist in the IDF. After the arson, clashes broke out between residents and police, who used riot-control means to quell rock-throwing.
Protesting the arson, local residents set fire to a number of buildings in town, including the headquarters of the regional council and a health clinic.
Police arrested several young men from the village in the days following the clashes, including some who were suspected of discharging firearms during the disturbances.