Jerusalem man arrested on suspicion of arson attack on Muslim cemetery in Haifa
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Jerusalem man arrested on suspicion of arson attack on Muslim cemetery in Haifa

Judge extends remand of 34-year-old for six days, orders he be evaluated by a psychiatrist to determine whether he’s mentally competent

The wall of a Muslim cemetery in Haifa that was torched in a suspected arson attack on August 23, 2019. (Israel Police)
The wall of a Muslim cemetery in Haifa that was torched in a suspected arson attack on August 23, 2019. (Israel Police)

Police on Friday arrested a Jerusalem man suspected of attempting to torch a Muslim cemetery in Haifa.

Law enforcement received a report at 5 a.m. regarding a brushfire that had started along one of the graveyard’s walls. Security camera footage from the scene caught the alleged arson as it unfolded and showed a suspect fleeing the scene shortly thereafter. There were no reports of damage done to the cemetery.

They arrested the suspect, 34, shortly upon their arrival at the al-Istiqbal cemetery.

Hours later, the man was brought before the Haifa Magistrate’s Court where a judge ruled to extend his remand by six days. In addition, she ordered that he be examined by a psychiatrist to determine whether he was mentally competent.

Khaled Dagash, a member of the Muslim Waqf in Haifa that tends to the cemetery, told a local radio station that Friday’s incident was not the first time al-Istiqbal had been targeted.

“The cemetery is a perpetual target of attacks and desecrations. Last time they destroyed tombstones and even daubed graffiti… We keep getting assurances [from the municipality] that they will provide security but it always comes after the fact,” Dagash lamented.

“What is so sad about the story is that this time someone came all the way from Jerusalem to burn a Muslim cemetery. It pains us. The Muslim community in Haifa is furious.”

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