‘Tel Aviv arsonist targeted migrants’

21-year-old man accused of throwing Molotov cocktails at several homes of Africans, faces lengthy prison term.

Daycare owner shows firebomb damage 390 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Daycare owner shows firebomb damage 390
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
A 21-year-old man threw Molotov cocktails into the homes of several African migrants and into the courtyard of a kindergarten in south Tel Aviv, an indictment filed on Thursday alleges.
Haim Mula was charged with arson, which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence where attacks are carried out to endanger or injure people, and malicious damage, which incurs a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
According to the indictment, which the Tel Aviv District Attorney presented in the district court on Thursday morning, Mula made the Molotov cocktails last month by stuffing cloth soaked in flammable materials into glass bottles with the intention of setting fire to African migrants’ homes.
At 1 p.m. on April 27, Mula allegedly threw two lit Molotov cocktails into the entryway of an apartment on Israel Misalant Street in south Tel Aviv’s Shapira neighborhood where four Africans sat with a small baby.
As a result, a fire broke out in the hallway, the indictment said.
Mula allegedly threw a third lit Molotov cocktail into the apartment block’s yard shortly afterwards. Two beds and several items of clothing were burned in the resulting fire, according to the indictment.
Later that same day, just before 2 p.m., Mula hurled another firebomb into an apartment on Mesilat Yesharim Street, the indictment charges.
That firebomb ignited a curtain that had fallen onto a bed where the apartment’s resident, an African migrant, was lying, the indictment said. In the fire that resulted, a curtain, a blanket and a TV antenna cable were burned.
Immediately afterwards, Mula hurled another bomb into an apartment on the same street, where another African migrant sat with her brother.
Next, the indictment said, Mula threw two more Molotov cocktails into the yard of an apartment on nearby Ralbag Street, which serves as a kindergarten for the children of African migrants.
One of the homemade incendiaries allegedly set fire to the kindergarten’s yard, burning a sofa and other furniture as well as children’s toys and strollers. Mula “ignited fires intentionally to harm people and property where they lived, and to cause damage to property,” the indictment said.
Police arrested Mula on April 28, a day after the alleged incidents, and he has been held on remand since that time.
In addition to the indictment, the district attorney filed a request to remand Mula in custody throughout the criminal proceedings against him.
The day after the alleged attack on the kindergarten yard, the Nigerian woman who runs the kindergarten said she and her husband were at home during the attack, but were only awoken when firefighters knocked on the door.
The kindergarten,crammed with baby cribs and mattresses, is part of a small house where the family lives that directly faces the street.
Though not originally reported by police, the alleged incident drew widespread criticism not only from left-wing MKs and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, but also right-wing Israelis who take part in protests against the African migrant community in Israel.
In photos, the bombs Mula allegedly made appeared to be crudely fashioned from 330- millimeter beer bottles.
Though the projectiles did not ignite massive fires, all of them were thrown at homes where young children were sleeping, and could have easily caused grave bodily harm.
A little over a week after the incident, unknown assailants threw a fire bomb at a building housing Nigerian migrants next to the Hatikva neighborhood market in south Tel Aviv.
Police said they didn’t think there was a connection between that incident and the alleged Molotov cocktail throwing in Shapira.