Unknown Vandals Set Fire to Torah Books in West Bank Synagogue

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The burned Torah books on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016.
The burned Torah books on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016.Credit: Karmei Zur Security

Unknown vandals set Torah books on fire in a West Bank synagogue on Saturday evening. The police treating the incident as a suspected hate crime. 

The incident occurred in a synagogue built near the settlement of Karmei Zur in memory of the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas operatives in July 2014. 

The synagogue was empty when the incident took place. An initial probe indicated that the perpetrators of the crime organized the books in a pile inside the synagogue and set them on fire before fleeing the scene.

The police said footsteps found at the scene led to the Palestinian village of Halhul. 

Responding to the incident, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the international community to "condemn the desecration of synagogues which is just another result of unending Palestinian incitement."

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said that the images of the torched books "were shocking."

"Anyone who teaches hatred for Jews is responsible for this heinous incident," he added. 

President Reuven Rivlin expressed confidence that the perpetrators would be swiftly brought to justice.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett labeled the perpetrators "terrorists" and said that "this is crossing a red line that we cannot accept and we won't ignore it as routine."

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