05/04/2010, 00.00
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West Bank mosque partially destroyed by fire

The Palestinians point the finger at the residents of nearby Israeli settlements, which denied responsibility. The Israeli police does not exclude the possibility of a short circuit, but military sources indicate a possible link with the "price to pay," a series of raids against the Palestinians. This incident raises tension, however, and has just sent the Ariva Obama, Gordon Mitchell.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) – An overnight fire has almost entirely destroyed a mosque in the village of Al-Sharq Libban (pictured), near Ramallah in the West Bank. The Palestinians suspect the residents of the nearby Israeli settlement of Shilo, Eli and Ma'ale Levon, while the Israeli police who are investigating, do not exclude the possibility of a short circuit. As it is, what happened - which is unprecedented -  contributes to a climate of tension over the settlements, which further hinders the action of the special envoy of President Obama, Gordon Mitchell, who arrived in Israel yesterday to resume "indirect talks "between Israelis and Palestinians to relaunch the peace process.

Regarding last night’s fire, Majed Daraghmeh, head of the commission for the maintenance of the mosque, said that at about 3 am residents heard the arrival of some cars, but did not have the courage to go out and investigate because they were sure that they were settlers. "But at 3:45, when the Imam arrived to prepare for the morning prayer, the mosque was on fire. The fire destroyed 80, 90% of the building. " He added that the part of the mosque where the fire developed had no electrical connections, because of renovations that are under way, and that proof of intent comes from having found a pile of copies of the Koran.

The Binyamin Regional Council, including some Israeli settlements in the area, denies the accusations. "The Israeli army was quick to point to the settlers, but from the tests being carried out there is no evidence that the fire was deliberately started and certainly not by us."

Army sources, in fact, have raised the possibility that the fire is among the acts of the "price to pay” a the slogan which has been found in some previous attacks against Palestinian villages in the area. It indicates the "price" that the Palestinians must pay for every action the Israeli army takes on government orders to stop the illegal settlements. Each destruction of a building of settlements, in short, is an attack. So two days ago, two Palestinians cars were burnt and the slogan “Price tag attack” was written on the a wall of the village, with the Star of David next to it. In December, the same words appeared on a burned mosque in the village of Hawara, near Nablus. The police stopped a couple from a nearby colony of Yitzhar and questioned a rabbi, but there were no arrests.
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