Israeli Leaders Condemn Mosque Attack

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel Police arrested several people Monday morning believed to have taken part in an overnight attack on a mosque in a northern Bedouin village.

Village residents found phrases such as "price tag" and "death to traitor" and "Peace Now, the end is near" scrawled and spray painted on walls near the mosque.

The tagging lead investigators to believe it may have been a revenge attack by Jewish activists in the area.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) to assist in the investigation, saying such acts "have no place in Israel."

"The prime minister was furious when he saw the pictures [of the damage] and said the incident contradicts the values of the State of Israel -- such as freedom of religion and freedom of worship," his office said in a statement.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfield said the perpetrators entered the mosque in the village of Tuba-Zangariyye early Monday morning.

"An intensive police investigation has been launched to track down those behind the incident," Rosenfeld said.

Israeli Minister of Education Gideon Saar issued a statement condemning the latest in a series of "price-tag" attacks.

"This must be condemned as clearly as possibly," Saar said. "Attacking a house of prayer is a severe, shocking, barbaric, inhuman and anti-Jewish act."

"I hope and believe that the law enforcement authorities will apprehend and bring to justice those who perpetrated the crime," he said.

President Shimon Peres called it a "difficult day" for all Israelis -- "not only the Arab sector."

Rabbis also denounced the attack.

"The sites that are holy to all religions must remain outside the disputes between nations," Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich said, according to Arutz Sheva.

Leading rabbis from northern Israel co-signed a letter denouncing the attack "with the utmost force."

They called it "out of line with the Torah of Israel and with Jewish Halakha [oral law] and its values."

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