Last Two Suspects in West Bank Mosque Arson Released to House Arrest

Other suspects had released shortly after arrest; court free Sukkot and Gelberd despite police evidence.

The Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court on Sunday released to house arrest the final two suspects who were being held by police for their alleged involvement in the torching of a West Bank mosque in December.

Tzvi Sukkot and Shlomo Gelberd - both residents of West Bank settlements - were arrested more than two weeks ago along with five other suspects - four of them teenagers. The other suspects were released from custody shortly after their arrest.

Sukkot and Gelberd were released without charges, but ordered to remain under house arrest for 60 days pending results of the investigation against them.

The court had extended their remand three times prior to their release on Sunday.

The court had last week extended both of their remand citing evidence tying the two men to the incident beyond a reasonable doubt.

The suspects were arrested after a mosque in the West Bank village of Yasuf was found torched, its furniture and carpets burnt, with derogatory slogans in Hebrew sprayed across the premises.

Both Sukkot and Gelberd denied the allegations against them. Supporters turned up at their hearing, where they shouted "Dod is king," and "everyone is silent."

During the hearing on Sunday, police showed the court covert reports on each of the two men which allegedly tied them to the arson, but the suspects continued to deny the allegations against them. The court finally ruled that the evidence was not sufficient to extend their remand for a fourth time.

The defense attorney said he would appeal against his client's house arrest. "It's time that the relevant parties do some soul-searching about how they handled this investigation on this case, and the unnecessary arrests."