Arabs Torch Hesder Yeshiva in Akko

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AKKO, Israel - Firefighters in the ancient northern coastal city of Akko believe Saturday night's fire in the hesder yeshiva was started by Arab residents of the city.

Firefighters managed to put out the fire, which began around 3:30 a.m. in the morning, before Bibles and prayer books could be burned, though the building was damaged.

Students of the hesder yeshiva, which combines Torah study with military service, were on vacation when the incident occurred.

Police, who secured the building and launched an investigation, said the evidence indicates that an Arab arsonist started the fire.

"We collected all the evidence needed to advance the investigation," Police Superintendent Avi Edri told YNet news. "We have a lead, and I believe we will soon reach the person responsible for the arson, with the help of intelligence information," he said.

Rabbi Yossi Stern, head of the yeshiva, said they'd been threatened during and after the riots that began on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

"I plan to meet with the mayor and the police commanders," he said, "and hope to receive answers about what happened and how to move on."

According to some of the city's Arab resident, students at the yeshiva exacerbated the tension in Akko between the Jewish and Arab population.

Last week, the additional police forces deployed to the city during the nearly 10 days of rioting were sent home, but some 200 additional policemen were assigned to the local Akko force.

Of the 90 people arrested during the riots, 12 remain in custody. Equal numbers of Jews and Arabs were arrested.

Source: YNet news

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