Fire that caused Jerusalem woman’s death was arson

Arson caused the death of a Jerusalem woman on Saturday, the details of which the Jerusalem Magistrates Court allowed for publication on Monday.

Orit London, 24, died in her Pisgat Ze’ev apartment after her residential building was set on fire. Police arrested three suspects, a neighbor in the building and two of her friends, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem.

A dispute between the suspects and another couple living in the building preceded the arson incident. London was not a part of the dispute. According to the investigation’s report, the three wanted to damage one of the building’s apartments, but the fire spun out of control and a huge amount of smoke penetrated London’s apartment. London died of smoke inhalation several days later at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem.

Jerusalem District police commenced the investigation when they suspected arson. They arrested the neighbor the same day as the fire and later two residents of Kafr Aqab. One of the Palestinians was named as Muhammad Shviki. There remains a gag order on the names of the other two, the Palestinian referred to as K.R. and the neighbor as R.

"The investigation revealed that there was a dispute between the suspects and the resident of the apartment that was set afire and her partner, B.M., a resident of East Jerusalem," the police announced, explaining that this fight was the background of the arson incident.

"The suspects planned to set the apartment on fire, and they verified during the course of the evening and night that the apartment was empty," said the police. "They arrived at the place with the vehicle of one of the suspects. One of the suspects waited in his vehicle while the other two went up to the apartment, broke down the door, set it on fire, stole clothes and perfume and fled."

According to the police, the building is privately owned and divided into several rental units, possibly illegally. In some of the units, there were no opening and windows, which probably added to the danger of smoke.

"The apartment was burned down completely, and the thick smoke filled the apartment on the floor above, a one-room apartment without any openings, save for the front door, which the fire probably covered completely," the police said. "The resident who lived on the floor above was injured, was evacuated in critical condition to the hospital, where she died a few days later."

The suspects were interrogated for murder. They were brought Monday before a judge. The remand of the suspect was extended until Thursday. Shviki was ordered held until Sunday, while the hearing on the third suspect is being held Monday.


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