Two Eritrean migrant workers were injured overnight as a result of a fire that erupted in their central Jerusalem apartment. An investigation raised suspicions of arson.
Three firefighting units arrived at the apartment, located on Jaffa Street in central Jerusalem slightly after 3 A.M. Ten Eritrean migrant workers were trapped inside the apartment, two of whom sustained injuries due to smoke inhalation and burns. The firefighters quickly put out the fire and opened an investigation into the incident.
Firefighters say that an initial investigation revealed that the fire was a result of arson, pointing at graffiti found at the scene which read “leave the neighborhood.”
According to a Magen David Adom medic who arrived on the scene, the residents of the apartment attempted to put out the fire themselves. They were later taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Police District Chief Niso Shaham instructed a special team to investigate the incident.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the alleged arson, and along with Shaham discussed plans to fight violence in the city.
The incident came hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his ministers to accelerate efforts to deport citizens of South Sudan, the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Ethiopia who are living in Israel illegally.
Netanyahu stated that while it is not possible to expel citizens of Eritrea and Sudan, whose lives would be at risk in their home countries, holding facilities for them must be built in the Negev as quickly as possible.
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