Eighteen buses went up in flames overnight Shabbos at the Central Bus Station in Tzfas.
The fire began at about 3 a.m. Shabbos morning. Due to its size, the shift fire commander ordered the activation of all fire crews of the stations in the Galil and and Ramat HaGolan. The firefighters extinguished the fire and prevented damage to further buses parked at the station.
Police have confirmed that the fire was a result of arson and have opened an investigation. One of the possibilities being investigated is that the arson was the responsibility of a gang from the Bedouin town of Tuba-Zangariyye that operates in the area, extorting “protection money” from local businesses. According to a Ynet report, the Shin Bet is involved in the investigation.
Blue and White MK Yael Ron Ben-Moshe tweeted about the incident, writing: “This is an elevation of the severity of crime in northern Israel which suffers from a lack of personal security for years. I issued a request for an emergency discussion in the Knesset’s Internal Security Committee. The north cannot continue to operate like the wild west.”
Religious Zionist Party MK Ophir Sofer stated: “Protection severely harms business owners and residents of the Galil. The addresses of the criminals are apparently known to the police and they must launch an operation to eradicate the phenomenon, joining forces with the State Attorney’s Office and the courts. ”
“We haven’t seen incidents like this since the Second Lebanon War – terror in the middle of a city,” Tzfas Mayor Shuki Ohana said in an interview on Army Radio. “This is the fourth such event over the past month. We need to put a stop to these attacks.”
Just two weeks ago, eight buses in the northern city of Kiryat Shmona were burned, in an incident also investigated as arson.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)