Israel Court Orders Release of Suspect in 'Price Tag' Mosque Attack

Petah Tikva judge orders police to release suspect accused of setting fire to Galilee mosque due to lack of new evidence; West Bank resident accused of abetting attack also set to be released later this week.

A Petah Tikva court ruled Tuesday that there is not enough evidence to convict a man accused of setting fire to a mosque in the Galilee village of Tuba-Zanghariyya last week.

Judge Nitza Maimon-Shashua allowed the police to extend the suspects remand until Sunday in order to produce new evidence. However, she stipulated that if no new evidence could be produced, the police would be ordered to release the suspect.

The burned-out mosque in Israeli Arab town Tuba Zangaria, victim of a radical settler 'price tag' attack in 2011.
Yaron Kaminsky

The suspect, who was arrested just hours after the attack, was brought before the court for a hearing on his remand last Thursday, where an attorney representing the suspect said his client disavowed any link to the incident.

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.