Court Extends Remand of Settlers Suspected of Mosque Arson

Two months ago assailants torched furniture at Yasuf mosque, sprayed derogatory slogans.

The Petah Tikva district court extended on Monday the remand of two of men suspected of setting the Yasuf mosque ablaze several months ago.

The assailants torched furniture at the mosque, in the village of Yasuf, and sprayed derogatory slogans in Hebrew on the premises.

The Judge said during the court hearing that there is evidence which ties the two men, Tzvi Sukkot and Shlomo Gelberd, to the incident beyond a reasonable doubt.

Both suspects denied the allegations against them, and were supported during the hearing by friends who shouted "god is king," and "everyone is silent."

Three more suspects were arrested in connection with the torching, two of whom are minors.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said following the incident that Israel must rein in settlers' "brutal" actions.

"The torching of the mosque in Yasuf is a despicable crime, and the settlers are behaving with brutality," said Abbas, who called the act a violation of religious freedom.

"The settlers' unruly behavior must be stopped," Abbas added after a meeting with United Arab List-Ta'al chairman Ahmed Tibi in Amman.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, also condemned the act as a bid to thwart the peace process with the Palestinians.

"This is an extremist act geared toward harming the government's efforts to advance the political process for the sake of Israel's future," Barak said.