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Authorities free suspect in train derailment attempt, say he’s not culprit

Investigation ongoing as officials determine they have not caught person responsible for placing obstacle on railway tracks

A passenger train nears Karmiel, on November 8, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
A passenger train nears Karmiel, on November 8, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

An Arab Israeli man who was initially suspected of attempting to derail a train in northern Israel was released from custody on Tuesday after it was determined he was not connected to the case.

Police announced on Monday that they were investigating the alleged attempted derailment after an object was found on the railway line between the cities of Acre and Karmiel.

The man, a resident of the north, was arrested by police and handed to the Shin Bet security service for questioning. However, a day later, authorities said he was not responsible.

The investigation is ongoing, and the authorities are still searching for the culprit.

Police said there was no damage or injury as a result of the incident, which occurred on the Rosh Hashanah holiday when trains were not running.

Much of the information relating to the ongoing investigation was placed under a gag order.

An official from Israel Railways told Ynet that the obstruction had had the potential to cause a disaster: “A train that’s traveling at a speed of between 120 to 140 kilometers per hour hits an object, it can come off the rails, and the cars can flip over.”

Border Police face Palestinian rioters in East Jerusalem, September 26, 2022. (Israel Police)

The case comes as security forces remain on high alert amid a crackdown on terror groups in the West Bank, and concerns of terror attacks during the Jewish High Holidays.

On Monday, clashes between police and Palestinians in East Jerusalem broke out for the second night in a row. Earlier in the day, police arrested 14 people suspected of rioting and causing disturbances in Jerusalem’s Old City, as Jewish pilgrims toured the Temple Mount.

According to police, the visits proceeded on Tuesday without any “irregular disruptions,” however, one 18-year-old East Jerusalem resident was arrested at the site for suspected incitement. Police said a man in his 40s from central Israel was separately arrested on suspicion of incitement in a TikTok video.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid said earlier this month that the Shin Bet had thwarted hundreds of terror attacks this year.

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