(JNi.media) Police arrested several suspects on Saturday night as part of an investigation of last month’s arson at the Bread and Fish Church north-west of the Sea of Galilee.
The arrests followed an intense, undercover investigation conducted by Internal Security (Shin Bet) and the special Nationalistic Crime unit of the Judea and Samaria police. The suspects were interrogated by the Shin Bet, and will be arraigned Sunday in Nazareth Magistrate Court. The police will request the suspects’ remand. A gag order has been imposed on the investigation and the identities of the suspects.
The Shin Bet and the police issued an edict preventing the suspects from meeting with a lawyer for five days. Attorneys Aaron Rosa and Adi Keidar from the Honenu legal aid organization have filed urgent appeals in both Magistrates and District courts in Jerusalem against the order.
According to the appeals, “the exceptional edict permitting the authorities to prevent a suspect from meeting a lawyer is reserved only for serious security offenses, and not property offenses such as in this case.”
The attorneys also appealed the arrest itself.
On June 16, a fire broke out in the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, a Roman Catholic church located at Tabgha, on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. A wall near the entrance to the church was spray-scribbled with a verse from Jewish prayer: “And the idols shall be severed.”
A 19-year-old tourist and a 79-year-old employee suffered light injuries from smoke inhalation. A church guest room and a storage room were seriously damaged in the fire. A prayer room was slightly damaged. Firefighters succeeded in stopping the fire from spreading into the ancient chapel, which contains fifth-century mosaics.