Two indicted on terror charges for January firebombing of Herzliya mosque


Two suspects, including a minor, were indicted Friday on terror charges for a recent firebombing of a mosque in the city center of Herzliya.

Tel Aviv residents, aged 16 and 19, were arrested by police in recent days for targeting the Sidna Ali Mosque in January with Molotov cocktails in retaliation for Palestinian terror attacks, according to a statement from the Ministry of Justice.

The suspects were charged with conspiracy to commit terrorist acts and arson offences. The action left the roof of the mosque covered in soot.

The indictment also alleged that the two considered carrying out an Arab-Israeli lynch but decided instead to act against the mosque.

In May 2021, an Arab man was targeted in a vicious racist attack by up to 15 men outside the Herzliya site, amid intense waves of intercommunal violence that have occurred alongside fighting in Gaza between Palestinian terrorists and Israeli forces.

According to the charge sheet on Friday, the two first targeted the famous Hassan Bek Mosque in Jaffa to attack in the early hours of January 29. However, someone threatening their suspicious activity noticed, who threatened to call the police.

The two then fled and searched for “mosques” on the Waze navigation application, where they found the Sinda Ali Mosque. Before going there, they allegedly bought bottles and fuel from a Tel Aviv gas station, arriving with Molotov cocktails already prepared.

The indictment said that while one of the accused threw two explosives at the roof of the mosque, the other filmed the act on his phone. After that, the latter allegedly threw a third explosive, before the pair fled the scene.

Only one firebomb managed to ignite the roof, causing minor damage.

The suspect who filmed the incident sent the video to his alleged accomplice, who uploaded it to TikTok with the text, “a message to Hamas, the people of Israel want revenge and this is just the beginning.” The post also included a distorted voice recording of the text.

In his request for their arrest, the Tel Aviv prosecutor, Tal Eliyahu, warned that if the mosque caught fire, it could “increase intense acts of violence in Israeli society, on a religious and nationalistic basis.”

This picture taken on February 27, 2023 shows an aerial view of a scrapyard where cars were torched overnight, in the Palestinian town of Huwara near Nablus in the West Bank (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP)

According to the Shin Bet, motivation to attack Arabs has increased since a group of settlers entered the West Bank town of Huwara in February following a deadly terrorist attack, burning cars and homes and leaving a Palestinian dead in unclear circumstances.

Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent months have left 14 Israelis dead and many others injured.

At least 84 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the year, most of them in attacks or clashes with security forces, but some were unrelated civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

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