January 11, 2016 / 9:24 AM / 3 years ago

Fire at Israeli rights group office probably not arson, official says

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A fire that destroyed the Jerusalem offices of one of Israel’s leading human rights groups was probably caused by a short circuit, not by arson, an Israeli fire brigade official said on Monday.

Israeli fire-fighters stand at the entrance to an office building where the offices of B'Tselem is located, in Jerusalem January 10, 2016. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

The fire broke out late on Sunday at the offices of B’Tselem, an Israeli group that monitors human rights in occupied Palestinian territories. No one was hurt.

The fire raised speculation of a possible link to a string of vandalism attacks by far-right activists, which have targeted churches, mosques, Palestinian property and a Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem.

Fire investigators found no evidence of arson, the head of the fire department’s Jerusalem precinct, Eli Peretz, told Army Radio. “It is highly likely the cause was a short circuit,” he said.

Last week, two Israelis were charged with murder over the death of a Palestinian baby and his parents in the West Bank last year after their home was set on fire.

Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jeffrey Heller

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