Israeli police arrest 9 in mosque torching, other attacks on Palestinians

By Amy Teibel, AP
Monday, January 18, 2010

Israeli police arrest 5 in West Bank mosque blaze

JERUSALEM — Israeli police said Monday they have arrested nine people at a radical Jewish settlement in connection with the torching last month of a West Bank mosque and other attacks on Palestinian property.

Five people arrested in the pre-dawn police raid were linked to the mosque blaze, while four others are suspected in connection with what police described as “severe damage” to other Palestinian property.

Police officials gave no further details and spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the case.

Authorities suspect the Dec. 11 mosque fire was set by Jewish extremists outraged by a government-ordered slowdown in West Bank settlement construction. Some extremists take out their anger on Palestinians in a practice known as “price tag.”

The mosque attackers burned prayer carpets and a book stand with Muslim holy texts, and spray-painted Hebrew graffiti on the floor.

A teen was briefly detained last month in connection with the blaze.

(This version CORRECTS that four of the nine arrested, not all, are being held in connection with other attacks on Palestinian property.)

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