State of Palestine: Vandals firebomb and graffiti Palestinian mosque

Attackers started a dangerous fire and spray painted racist graffiti onto the walls of Al-Birwa al-Ehsan mosque in al-Bireh on Monday morning. The arsonists managed to set the mosque's bathroom alight as well as graffiti the racist phrase, «Lockdown for the Arabs, not for the Jews. The Land of Israel for the Jewish people,» in Hebrew on one of the mosque's walls. Local residents reported the blaze at around 03:00 local time (00:00 GMT). The fire department extinguished the flames before police arrived to investigate. Nobody was reported injured and the apparent attempt to set the mosque alight was unsuccessful. «They wanted to start the fire from behind so that the fire would be very strong and it would burn everything because of the wood and the carpets. But there are bathrooms there and in-between the sides of the mosque there is a wall to prevent the entry of fire and there is no final door,» explained the mosque's co-ordinator. Both the local mayor and the Palestinian Ministry of Religious Affairs instantly condemned the attack, holding Israel responsible for the acts. The Ministry of Religious affairs went as far as blaming Israel's “support of these terror groups,” for the attack. Israeli settlers have been accused of sneaking in from nearby settlement Psagot. Israel is yet to comment on the attacks. Similar acts of vandalism by Israeli settlers towards Palestinians are being described as «price tag» attacks. Some allege they are used to intimidate and assert supremacy over the territories. In January, attackers torched another mosque and similarly wrote anti-Arab slogans on its walls. January's attack took place in the occupied East Jerusalem region of Sharafat.

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