Mohammed, the owner of the vehicles, said that he was awoken at 2:30 am by a crackling sound. "It was like a little hell, all four cars were on fire. We stepped out to the street and tried to extinguish the fire using a fire hose but at one point we realized the gas tanks might explode.
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"We stepped back and waited for the fire fighters. When they put out the fire someone said, 'look what they left on the wall.' We then realized this was not a personal settling of scores."
Graffiti on wall. 'Don't tough our girls' (Photo: Hayhel Khaled)
He further added, "Whoever wrote it doesn’t want Arab men to date Jewish women. I would say it might be racist, not necessarily nationalistic."
Both he and Safed Mayor Ilan Shohat, who had municipal jurisdiction over the village, believe the cars were randomly chosen. "It wasn't something specific, these were cars they came across at random, this is the first house at the entrance to the village," Shohat explained.
The mayor ruled out any connection between the arson and the discrimination against Arabs in renting in Safed. "The relationship between the residents of Akbara and the Jewish residents of Safed is excellent, there have never been any incidents. We live in co-existence."
Cars torched near Ramallah (Photo: Iyad Hadad, B'Tselem)
Safed Police chief Ofer Kanterovitch estimated the arson was a "prank" adding that the village is very quiet. "We've launched an investigation and have several leads. The suspects torched two cars which apparently caused the other two to catch fire."
Monday night also saw 10 vehicles torched in Deir Jarir near Ramallah. Police forces, who arrived on the scene, began investigating the incident. No graffiti was found in the area.
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