2 Arab terrorists indicted for starting forest fire

The Haifa District Court issued an indictment Thursday against an Arab arsonist from the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm along with a minor Arab arsonist for lighting the Broshim forest on fire, though a motive is not posited in the charges.

The Broshim Forest is located next to the town of Mei Ami. The fire was one of many that plagued the country in late November.

The indictment claims that Suleiman Mahmid, 18, and the male minor went to the junction that leads to the entrance of the town on November 27 and deliberately set fire to thorn bushes that border the town.

The indictment further states that the two used two lighters in their possession to ignite the conflagration. One of them disassembled one lighter to release the butane while the other produced a flame from the second lighter, which was amplified by the excess butane. The two fled after setting the brush alight.

Mei Ami’s security director was driving around the town’s perimeter with another man when they allegedly spotted Mahmid and his companion igniting the brush and then departing in their vehicle, and the security director gave chase. They were arrested four days later.

The fire ended up destroying up 290 square meters of land before it could be extinguished.

The prosecutor’s office has requested to keep the two in custody until the end of the criminal investigation on the allegation that “the two present a clear and present danger to society. The two deliberately set fire to a forested area and close to an inhabited area. The two perpetrated their act at a time when fires were being lit throughout the country, fires which caused extensive ecological damage and extensive damage to homes and property. The quick spread of the fires was due to, inter alia, the dry weather conditions and the strong winds.”