Monday, 11 January 2016

Fire breaks out at Jerusalem offices of human rights group B’Tselem


A suspected arson attack has caused extensive damage to the Jerusalem offices of one of Israel’s leading human rights groups.

Firefighters arrived at the offices of B’Tselem, an Israeli group that monitors human rights among Palestinians, in a quiet Jerusalem neighbourhood, and extinguished the blaze. There were no reports of casualties, Luba Samri, a police spokeswoman, said.

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A spokeswoman for the group said the blaze had caused extensive damage.

“A fire broke out at B’Tselem’s office in Jerusalem this evening. None of our staff were in the building,” she said.

“Initial reports published by the media indicate that police suspect arson. If it is discovered that this was an arson attack, it must be seen in the context of the wave of government incitement and smear campaigns against Israel’s human rights groups, and B’Tselem in particular.”

But she said the fire would not stop the organisation’s work of documenting and exposing human rights abuses under the occupation.

Speaking on public radio, a representative for the fire service did not rule out the possibility of arson. more