Αrrests in synagogue arson

| January 22, 2010

(ANA-MPA) — Three people have been arrested and two more are wanted by police on the island of Crete, accused of participating in two arson attacks on Jan. 5 and 16 targeting the historic Jewish synagogue in the port-city of Hania.

In a press conference on Friday, police announced that a local man from the nearby city of Irakleio, aged 24, and two British nationals, aged 23 and 33, are in custody, while another two suspects, both US citizens, are wanted.

The 33-year-old Briton, who is accused of being the perpetrator of the second arson attack on Jan. 16, denied the charges against him. The two US nationals are accused of the first arson attack on Jan. 5, while in the three detained suspects are accused of involvement in that incident, too.

The Greek man and the 23-year-old Briton are accused of keeping watch in the second arson attack.

The three suspects were led to the synagogue on Thursday night where a crime reconstruction took place.

The first fire broke out at 1:15 a.m. on Jan. 5. The culprits broke into the synagogue's courtyard and set fire to an outdoor wooden ladder which leads to the library. The fire was extinguished immediately before it threatened the temple and the adjoining library, which features roughly 1,600 rare books and manuscripts. A bottle with a flammable liquid still burning was found at the scene by fire-fighters.

The second fire broke out at 4 a.m. on Jan. 16 and destroyed digital discs, four computers, tapes with Jewish music and books. Both attacks destroyed a total of 2,500 books.

The medieval synagogue in Hania's old quarter is amongst the most noted Jewish temples in Greece, functioning as both a cultural centre and a house of worship.

 

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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security

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