Israel Border Police, Israel Security Agency (ISA) and IDF officials said Sunday three residents of Deir Abu Mash’al have been arrested on suspicion of being responsible for the arson attack that ravaged the Judea and Samaria community of Neve Tzuf (Halamish) during the November wave of fires in Israel.
The fire in Neve Tzuf had been brought under control on November 26, after a second resurgence. It had caused the evacuation of hundreds of families along and damaged more than 40 houses, almost half of them completely destroyed.
The Israel Tax Authority had subsequently recognized that the fire had been politically-motivated arson, even fire terrorism, entitling residents to state compensation in nine Israeli cities and West Bank communities. The police had then corrected in later November that although there were definite cases of arson, there was no sufficient evidence to claim those were “nationalistically” motivated and no indictment has henceforth been filed on those grounds.
The residents of the Palestinian village in the Ramallah Governorate are accused of willful damage to property, disturbing public order and damaging a protected natural resource. Notably, the indictment makes no mention of any political motivation. The fighters raided the homes of the suspects, carried out the arrests and took them for questioning by security forces.