Palestinian sources reported Sunday that Jewish settlers torched a house near the West Bank city of Ramallah, and spray-painted anti-Palestinian slogans at the scene.
There were no injuries reported in the suspected hate crime.
Hebrew graffiti was found at the scene bearing the words “Death to the Arabs,” and “Avenge the blood of the fallen servants.”
Israeli officials from the government administrator in the West Bank opened a probe into the possibility the incident was a “price tag” attack, according to the Walla news site.
On November 12, a West Bank mosque in the neighboring Palestinian town of al-Mughayir was set on fire, in what local residents said was a “price tag” attack by extremists, but what police said did not look like a hate crime.
The incident did not coincide with previous “price tag” attack patterns, leading police to believe the mosque was not burned for ideological reasons, Channel 10 reported.
The police source also added that no racist graffiti was found at the scene, conflicting earlier Palestinian news reports.
Israeli Police were unable to entirely rule out the option that this was a nationalist attack, as Palestinian authorities refused their entry to the village and did not allow them to conduct a wide-scale investigation.
The mayor of the village said he had no doubt that Jewish settlers were responsible, citing a previous settler attack against another mosque in the village two years ago and frequent settler attacks against vehicles and olive groves there.
“Only Jewish settlers would do this,” he said.
The reports, which accused settlers of committing the arson, indicated that villagers noticed fire and smoke coming from the mosque at around 3:30am, according to Israel Radio.
The mayor said efforts of residents and Palestinian fire services to quell the blaze succeeded only in saving the building’s second floor.
Head of the Shomron Regional Council Gershon Mesika condemned the blaze, saying whoever set the fire was a “pyromaniac,” according to Ynet.
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