Teenager Arrested in West Bank Mosque Blaze

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli police on Thursday briefly detained a
teenager from a West Bank settlement in connection with the
torching of a West Bank mosque earlier this month.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a minor was questioned in
the attack, believed to have been the work of Jewish extremists in
the West Bank. Israeli law prohibits publication of information
that might lead to identification of minors suspected of crimes.

Rosenfeld said the youth was released after several hours of
questioning. He would not say if the teen was still a suspect. He
said the investigation is still in progress.

The attackers burned prayer carpets and a book stand with Muslim
holy texts. They also left Hebrew graffiti on the floor. The arson
sparked outcries from both Muslims and Jews. Israel's chief rabbi
visited the damaged mosque to denounce the burning.

Rosenfeld said undercover agents arrested the teen at a West
Bank junction. He said it was the first arrest since the Dec. 11
blaze.

The youth's lawyer, Yehuda Shoshan, told Army Radio, "The
arrest apparently follows information that the Shin Bet security
service received that the youth, my client, was connected directly
or indirectly to the arson. I met with him immediately after his
arrest, before he was interrogated. He denied any connection" to
the attack.

Authorities suspect Jewish extremists carried out the attack in
retaliation for a government-ordered slowdown in West Bank
settlement construction.


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