Police cracks cell responsible for torching officers' cars

The Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court on Sunday lifted a gag order and extended for eight days the remands of three suspects - Moshe Skali, Arieh Tessler and Hanoch Albert - believed to have participated in the torching of police and IDF commanders' vehicles in revenge for their roles in evacuating settlements. Five suspects - including a minor - have been arrested in the case. Two people were caught in Jerusalem last week, allegedly trying to torch the vehicle of a police officer from the Judea and Samaria District. The duo allegedly poured gasoline on the vehicle and lit a wick before they were arrested by police from the International Serious Crimes Unit. Another three suspects were arrested with the help of Judea and Samaria police on suspicion of involvement in a series of similar attacks that began shortly after the violent evacuation of activists from the Amona outpost in Samaria on February 1.
  • On February 15, the car of Judea and Samaria Police Deputy Commander Lt.- Cmdr. Meir Bokovza, was torched.
  • On March 10, the vehicle of Hadera resident Dep.-Cmdr. Haim Padlon was torched. Padlon is also an officer in the Judea and Samaria District and was supervising the investigation of the protesters at Amona at the time.
  • On March 14, the side mirrors were broken off the car of Judea and Samaria police chief Cmdr. Yisrael Yitzhak in Yavne, where he lives.
  • On April 3, an IDF lieutenant-colonel who took part in the disengagement from Gaza become the latest victim of the spate of car torchings. That attack took place in Karnei Shomron, and while his car was not set alight, all four tires were slashed and the slogan, "A Jew doesn't expel a Jew," was painted on the vehicle in orange. The tires of a community policeman who also lives in the area were slashed although he had not participated in any evacuation. In response to the attacks, Police Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi and the then-head of the Investigations and Intelligence Division, Cmdr. Moshe Mizrahi, turned the case over to the International Serious Crimes Unit. During Sunday's remand hearing, police said they had searched the suspects' homes and taken DNA samples from all three. Police said the three were refusing to cooperate, and that they had remained silent during police questioning. Judge Lia Lev-On said the remands of all three suspects should be extended because they might try to interfere with the police investigation, and because they represented a danger to the public. The remand of a fourth suspect has already been extended until Tuesday.