Investigation of Mosque Arson Closed Due to 'Insufficient Evidence'

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The protest in Umm al-Fahm, April 21, 2014. Courtesy.

The State Prosecutor has closed the investigation into the suspected arson of a mosque in Umm al-Fahm in April of last year due to “insufficient evidence,” even though the incident was recorded by private security cameras in the area.

On April 18, 2014, the front door of the mosque in the southwest section of Umm al-Fahm was set on fire and the walls were sprayed with messages of hatred, including “Arabs out!” In footage recorded by private security cameras, two young people are seen torching the front door and running away. The police insisted there would be a thorough investigation in the wake of public fury over the incident.

Neighborhood residents say that last May, the police arrested several suspects from the Yitzhar area.

Attorney Mahmoud Mahajneh, who had been representing the town in the matter, received a letter this week signed by Einat Koch, legal advisor to the nationalist crimes unit for the Judea and Samaria District Police, saying that the case had been transferred to the State Prosecutor in February, and that the State Prosecutor had decided to close the case for lack of evidence.

“This is a hard-to-understand decision that gives a green light to the extremists to continue their ‘price tag’ crimes," Mahajneh told Haaretz. "The timing of the announcement is also curious. I plan to request to see the investigation material to try to understand why such a strange decision was made, as this incident now joins dozens of other ‘price tag’ incidents that ended with the case being closed with no arrests and no convictions.”

The Central District Attorney stated that “This was a very serious incident and investigators made a very serious attempt to identify the perpetrators. Many resources were invested in the investigation, and a wide array of complex investigative procedures were undertaken, but at this stage the investigation did not yield enough to support an indictment But if there should be a change in the state of the evidence, we will reexamine our position."