Jewish settlers have set fire to several cars belonging to the United Nations and Palestinian-owned gardens in Jerusalem during their celebrations of the so-called Lag B'Omer Festival, during which bonfires are lit. According to the Wadi El-Helwa Information Centre, nine UN vehicles in the Mount Scopus district and the gardens of three houses in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied Jerusalem were burned by settlers. The UN cars were parked in the High Representative's private garage while the gardens damaged belong to the El-Maghrabi, El-Jaouni and Al-Khatib families.
Mahmoud El-Maghrabi said that his family was surprised to smell smoke but by the time they went outside they found that some of their pine and eucalyptus trees were on fire. Some of the trees are almost 200 years old, he pointed out. All told, around 600 square metres of land had been damaged by the arson attack. Three members of his family were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation, said Mr El-Maghrebi: he named them as Hassiba Abdullah El- Maghrebi, 65 years old; Mohammed Abdulla Qassem El- Maghrebi, 44; and his brother Nidal, 41.
"It is astonishing, and highly suspicious," added El-Maghrebi, "that none of the places lived in by the settlers suffered any damage, only Palestinian homes."