Unknown assailants tried to set a Bat Yam restaurant on fire early Tuesday, just over a week after 20-year-old Bat Yam native Sgt. Tomer Hazan was lured to the West Bank and murdered by a Palestinian coworker illegally employed by the establishment.
Last month, 42-year-old Nidal Amar lured Hazan to his hometown in the West Bank, where he allegedly murdered him and buried his body, seeking to trade it for the release of his jailed brother. Amar was promptly arrested and later confessed.
A canister of flammable fluid was tossed into the restaurant and set alight around 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Firefighters and police were rapidly alerted to the scene and managed to douse the flames before any damage was caused.
The Ayalon District Police Force launched an investigation into the incident, having already checked the security footage from the restaurant's cameras. Authorities fear that this incident may indicate the start of a crime wave targeting the restaurant.
The owner of the restaurant, Tzachi Antebbi, told Israel Hayom that in fact there had been no arson attempt and that a lit cigarette had caused the fire. However, later he added, "We are looking into the incident." The Tel Aviv Police, however, said the incident was definitely a case of attempted arson.