A fire burned down 300 fruit containers in northern Israel on Friday night. The preliminary police investigation suggests that the fire was started deliberately in what is suspected to be “agricultural terror” of organized crime groups in the region.
Illustration Photo Credit: Kfir Sivan/Flash90
An Agriculturalist in a northern Israeli town found his 300 fruit storage containers burned down when he woke up on Saturday morning. The preliminary police investigation suggests that the fire was started deliberately in what is suspected to be “agricultural terror,” a phenomenon that was once familiar to agriculturists in the area.
As previously reported by JOL, vandals set fire to a packing house in the northern town of Yesod Hama’ala in July, destroying about 7,000 fruit containers and causing damage estimated at millions of shekels. No injuries were reported in that incident.
Local authorities believed that the arson attack was caused by a group of criminals who collect protection fees from farmers in the northern region of Israel who acted in response to the recent arrest of their leader. “This is an incident of terror, no matter what the background is – nationalistic or criminal,” said Head of the Town Council Ilan Or in July. “Damage to the property is extensive and there was a very high probability of causing people harm.”
The crime organization, uncovered last January, has apparently been extorting business owners in the north for years. The organization was finally exposed after an eight-month covert investigation conducted by the Israel Police in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies. The organization offered “guard services” to farmers and those who refused their “help” had to face the consequences, which often meant damaged tools, fields and factories.