Two Arrested Over Deadly Netanya Gas Explosion

PM Netanyahu expresses his condolences to Netanya mayor for building explosion in which four people were killed; police releases names of the three teenage girls and man killed in explosion.

The Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court on Friday extended the remand until Thursday of two people suspected to be involved in the building explosion in Netanya overnight in which four people were killed.


Police released the victims' names for publication on Friday, among them three teenage girls. 17-year-old Rivka Masihid,17-year-old Stacey Brook, and 18-year-old Rivka Durai. All three girls were Netanya residents and recent immigrants from France. The three were said to be distributing Shabbat candles as part of a Chabad House activity when the explosion occurred.

The fourth victim is 28-year-old Mohammed Abu Ata from Wadi Ara, a restaurant worker who was supposed to get married in a few days.

On Friday afternoon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Netanya Mayor Miriam Feierberg to express his condolences for the deadly explosion. Netanyahu said that he has appointed the director-general of the Prime Minister's Office, Eyal Gabay, to handle the incident.

One of the detained men was seen suspiciously loitering close to the building's gas tanks on Thursday. Police arrived and spoke to the man, but decided not to take him down to the station. After the explosion occurred, police arrested the man on the suspicion that he damaged and stole gas lines.

The other detained man is a gas technician for the Pazgaz company who was called to the building on Thursday afternoon after residents complained of the smell of gas in the air. Police said that there is reasonable suspicion that the technician caused death by negligence.

The gas technician's lawyer said that his client, who has 25 years experience as a gas technician, treated the problem as well as possible and that charges of negligence were "mere speculation."