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Beitar Jerusalem soccer fans arrested in connection with arson attack

JTA

February 13, 2013 | 10:37 am

A worker fixes a window in a room damaged in an arson attack at the club house of Israeli Premier League side Beitar Jerusalem in Jerusalem on Feb. 8. Photo by Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

A worker fixes a window in a room damaged in an arson attack at the club house of Israeli Premier League side Beitar Jerusalem in Jerusalem on Feb. 8. Photo by Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

Some members of the Beitar Jerusalem's nationalist and extremist fan club were arrested in connection with the arson attack on the soccer team's office and trophy room.

Jerusalem police arrested as many as seven fans belonging to the club called La Familia; more arrests reportedly are coming.

The alleged arsonists reportedly were identified through electronic surveillance.

La Famillia said it would suspend its activities due to the recent events, including the harsh reaction to the hiring of two Muslim team members from Chechnya. The club occupied the bleachers at the eastern side of the soccer field; the eastern bleachers have been ordered closed for the next five games by the Israel Football Association's disciplinary court.

Memorabilia and team records were damaged in the Feb. 8 fire.

"The history of Beitar has gone up in flames,” property caretaker Meir Harush told the news site NRG.

The attack followed the indictments that day of four Beitar Jerusalem fans suspected of incitement against Arabs and Muslims. On Jan. 26, the indictment said, the four men, all in their 20s, called “death to the Arabs” while watching a game from the bleachers.

On Feb. 10, some 35 supporters of Beitar Jerusalem were removed from Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem for racist chanting.

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