Israel Police Arrest Suspect in Galilee Mosque Arson

Man detained within hours of the incident, which police believe may have been a 'price tag' attack carried out by extreme right-wing Jews; suspect denies involvement.

Israel Police have arrested a man suspected of involvement in the torching of an Upper Galilee mosque earlier this week, it emerged on Thursday.

The suspect arrested just hours after the attack, but a gag order was slapped on all investigation details immediately following the incident. The suspect was brought before the court for a hearing on his remand Thursday, where an attorney representing the suspect said his client disavowed any link to the incident.

An Arab man inspecting the damage caused to a mosque in the West Bank village of Maghayer earlier this year.David Bachar

Legal representation to the suspect is provided by the Hanenu organization, which provides legal counseling to those prosecuted over acts committed during military service in the West Bank and as part of right-wing political activity.

The mosque in the village of Tuba-Zanghariyya, a Bedouin town of some 5,500 people two kilometers east of Rosh Pina, was attacked at about 2:30 A.M. on Monday morning. The mosque's interior was seriously damaged, and many holy books were destroyed by the blaze.

Police suspect that extreme right-wing Jews carried out the arson as a "price tag" operation, referring to vandalism and revenge actions initiated by activists, usually against Palestinians, following terror attacks or state demolitions in settlements or outposts.

On Wednesday, the ultra-Orthodox newspaper Yated Ne'eman condemned the arsonists who torched the Tuba-Zangariya mosque, saying said the "din rodef" law applied to them, meaning it is permitted to kill them to prevent them from endangering others.

"Jews don't burn mosques, period," the newspaper's editorial said. "...no shadow of justification can be found for harming a Muslim mosque. This is an insane, dangerous act."