Jerusalem mosque hit by arson and graffiti attack in suspected hate crime
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Mayor: Such things are unacceptable and not tolerated

Jerusalem mosque hit by arson and graffiti attack in suspected hate crime

Firefighters quickly control blaze, minimizing damage to Muslim house of worship in Sharafat neighborhood; wall daubed with reference to Kumi Ori flash point outpost

Palestinians visit a torched mosque in the Arab neighborhood of Sharafat in East Jerusalem on January 24, 2020 (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
Palestinians visit a torched mosque in the Arab neighborhood of Sharafat in East Jerusalem on January 24, 2020 (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Fire services were called to a blaze at a mosque in Jerusalem on Friday morning in a suspected hate crime.

According to fire services, the blaze was quickly brought under control and there was no serious damage to the mosque, Channel 12 reported.

Police said in a statement that there was a “fire in a room in the building.”

Firefighters who arrived at the scene in the city’s Sharafat neighborhood found graffiti attacking Arabs on a nearby wall.

Graffiti on a wall by a mosque in Sharafat, Jerusalem, 24 January 2020 (Israel Police)

There were no reports of any injuries and police said they have opened an investigation.

A photo from the scene showed graffiti in Hebrew that reads: “Destroying Jews? Kumi Ori is destroying enemies!”

Israeli forces raze a pair of illegal homes at the Kumi Ori outpost on January 15. (Elazar Riger)

Kumi Ori is a flash point outpost neighborhood of the Yitzhar settlement in the West Bank.

The illegal neighborhood provided a “tailwind” for an increase in attacks on Palestinians and Israeli security forces in recent months, a security official told the Times of Israel last month.

The outpost is home to seven families along with roughly a dozen extremist Israeli teens known as hilltop youth. Earlier this month security forces razed a pair of illegally built settler homes in the outpost.

The IDF declared the wildcat community a closed military zone in October after a number of young settlers living there were involved in a string of violent attacks on Palestinians and security forces.

In a statement, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said he “strongly condemns the hate crime committed in the [Sharafat] neighborhood. Such things are unacceptable and not tolerated.”

Anti-Arab vandalism by Jewish extremists has become a common occurrence in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Incidents of vandalism against Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank are commonly referred to as “price tag” attacks, with perpetrators claiming they are retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies seen as hostile to the settler movement.

Arrests of perpetrators have been exceedingly rare and rights groups lament that convictions are even more unusual, with the majority of charges in such cases being dropped.

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