Mosque Torched in Another Apparent 'Price Tag' Attack

Attack occurred around 2 A.M., when a tractor, a car and the entrance to the mosque were torched in the village of Burkin, not far from Ariel.

Another attempt to torch a West Bank mosque occurred early yesterday morning, accompanied by other vandalism and graffiti that seem to indicate settlers were responsible.

Also yesterday, the Jerusalem District Court determined that Yaakov Teitel, who has been charged with killing two Arabs, is fit to stand trial.

The mosque attack occurred at about 2 A.M., when a tractor, a car and the entrance to the mosque were torched in the village of Burkin, not far from Ariel. In addition, the name of the head of the Shin Bet security service's Jewish division was spray-painted on a wall of the mosque.

Police searched the scene and army patrols scoured the surrounding area, but neither found any clues to the perpetrators' identities.

This was the sixth attack on a mosque since December 2009, when the "price tag" attacks - so called because they aim to exact a "price" for house demolitions in the settlements - began. Though there have been arrests, to date no one has been charged in any of the incidents.

This investigation, like the others, will be handled by a special team from the International and Serious Crimes Unit that deals with hate crimes.

The part of Burkin that faces the settlement of Alei Zahav is in Area C, meaning it is under full Israeli control. The village has a good access road leading to the main road, which is used by both settlers and Palestinians.

Teitel, who was arrested in October 2009, is on trial for two 1997 murders, one in Jerusalem and one in the South Hebron Hills. He is also charged with planting explosive devices that targeted policemen, leftists, homosexuals and Messianic Jews.

When the trial began, Teitel started exhibiting crazed behavior and claimed he did not recognize the authority of the court, which he compared to a brothel. His attorneys argued that he was not mentally fit to stand trial, and he was sent for a psychiatric evaluation.

The court was presented with two conflicting evaluations. But yesterday, Judges Zvi Segal, Moshe Drori and Moshe Yoed Hacohen decided he was fit to be tried.

Now the court will hear arguments on a more substantive issue: whether Teitel, a resident of the settlement of Shvut Rachel, was responsible for his actions when he allegedly committed the crimes. His attorneys are claiming temporary insanity.

If the court rejects this argument, Teitel will apparently be convicted, since the evidence against him includes his detailed confessions and reenactments.