Beitar J'lem fans indicted for racist arson

Police say suspects admit that arson of team management offices was response to hiring of Chechen Muslim players.

Fans shout at Betar Jerusalem match 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Fans shout at Betar Jerusalem match 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office filed an indictment against Evyatar Yosef and Matan Nivon in the Jerusalem District Court for a February 8 arson attack against the management offices of Beitar Jerusalem.
Yosef, 21, is a resident of Moshav Ruha and Nivon, 23, is a resident of Kiryat Gat.
The police had arrested three suspects last Tuesday and Wednesday in investigating the attack. Two of the arrested suspects admitted they were involved in the arson, according to police.
Police added that the men admitted the arson was in response to the soccer team’s hiring of Chechen Muslim players Gabriel Kadiev and Zaur Sadayev, a move that has been the subject of harsh criticism from more extreme members of the Beitar fan base.
According to the indictment, the two defendants decided to perpetrate the arson attack late at night on February 7.
The defendants donned gloves, neck warmers and ski masks to disguise their appearance, said the indictment.
The two drove to a gas station and filled two large bottles with gasoline, covered them with nylon and placed them in the trunk of the car, the indictment said. They then allegedly parked the car several minutes walking from their target, the management offices.
On their way, each of the defendants took an envelope from a mailbox near the offices, according to the indictment. They then allegedly broke two office windows with stones, threw in the gasoline bottles, threw in the envelopes which they had lit on fire, and fled the scene.
The three arrested men, two of whom have been indicted so far, are all members of the hardcore Beitar fan group La Familia. The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court has already extended their remand until at least March 7 and the state has asked that they be remanded to police custody until the end of the proceedings.
One suspect also said the arson was planned out for some time and was not a spontaneous act. Police had said last week that they expect to make more arrests in the case.
Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.