Abandoned building goes up in flames near central Tel Aviv protests
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Abandoned building goes up in flames near central Tel Aviv protests

Blaze engulfs building near Azrieli towers, as hundreds nearby rally against abuse at daycare center; police investigation underway; one person detained

Firefighters battle a blaze at a building in Tel Aviv on Sunday July 7, 2019 (Fire Services)
Firefighters battle a blaze at a building in Tel Aviv on Sunday July 7, 2019 (Fire Services)

A large blaze broke out Sunday in an abandoned building near Tel Aviv’s Azrieli towers, at the same time as a large protest was taking place several hundred meters away.

There were no injuries reported in the blaze, which took firefighters several hours to get under control.

The fire came as hundreds of people gathered in the area, as part of nationwide protests calling for state oversight of daycare centers, amid outrage over abuse of kids by caregivers after a manager at a private kindergarten was charged with harming kids under her care.

The police said they had detained one person near the scene of the fire on suspicion he may have been behind the blaze. However, fire officials said they had not yet determined if it was arson or an accident.

Police stand guard during a Tel Aviv protest held by parents against the abuse of children and infants in kindergartens in Israel, July 7, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

It was also not clear if there was any connection between the detained man and the protests, where thousands of people blocked the nearby busy intersection of Kaplan and HaShalom roads, in front of the Azrieli towers.

Parents waved signs reading “Mother, father save me” and “Don’t abandon our children” at the protests, called days after video footage emerged of Rosh Ha’ayin caregiver Carmel Mauda allegedly tying up, beating and force-feeding kids.

Parents protest in Tel Aviv against the abuse of children and infants in kindergartens in Israel, July 7, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Over the weekend, Mauda’s home was set on fire. A suspect, an off-duty soldier, was detained.

Firefighters work to extinguish blaze at the home of Carmel Mauda in the central city of Rosh Ha’ayin on July 6, 2019. (Israel Police)

Hebrew-language media said the suspect is related to parents of a boy who had previously attended the daycare.

According to Channel 13 news, there is security camera footage of him at the scene of the fire.

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