12/07/2010, 00.00
ISRAEL
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No one arrested yet for the Mt Carmel blaze, the boy detained yesterday is released today

After he was taken into custody yesterday, the boy admitted responsibility for the fire but said it was an accident. Today his confession is thrown out because it was obtained under duress. “I regret the loss of life in the fire, but I refuse to let my son pay the price,” the boy’s father said.

Haifa (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Who caused the Mount Carmel blaze remains unknown. Israeli police this morning released a 14-year-old boy from Usfiya who had initially confessed to setting the fire. It was later determined that he had been coerced into admission under interrogation.

In his original statement, the boy had said that he had gone into the woods on 2 December to smoke a waterpipe.  When he realised that the ember he had thrown away had set the ground on fire, he panicked and fled to school without telling anyone what had happened.

At the police station, the boy’s father insisted on his innocence. “I don't know what they (police) did to him, but he was afraid and stressed," the father said as he waited to pick up the boy at a Haifa police station. "Initially he did not say where exactly he threw the ember. This proves that he is being framed. [. . .] I regret the loss of life in the fire, but I refuse to let my son pay the price," the father added. The boy still has to remain available to police since the investigation has not yet been completed.

On Monday, the Haifa District Court released two brothers arrested on suspicion that they ignited the fire. This comes less than 24 hours after the remand of their arrests. The court accepted the appeals filed by the two teens, also from Usfiya, aged 14 and 16, against the remand.

Parents and family members vehemently denied the teens had been involved in the fire from the moment of their arrests, calling them "good kids".

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