Arson being probed in bus fires in Arab-Israeli town

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Police are investigating a possible arson of two buses belonging to a company that began offering special bus lines to transport West Bank Palestinian passengers.

The buses belonging to the Afikim bus company caught fire Monday night in Kfar Kassem, an Arab-Israeli town about 20 miles east of Tel Aviv. Afikim was ordered to remove its buses immediately from the town.

The special bus lines, which will bring Palestinian passengers into central Israel, began Monday morning. They run from the Eyal checkpoint north of the West Bank Palestinian city of Kalkilya to several cities where the Palestinians have permits to work.

Some Palestinians rioted Monday morning when there were not enough buses to ferry all the Palestinian workers to their jobs.

The institution of the special lines is meant to ease the overcrowding of bus lines that go into Jewish settlements, the Transportation Ministry told Ynet. Palestinians may still take the regular buses.

Palestinians cannot enter Jewish settlements. They board the buses at stops on the Trans-Samaria Highway.

Jewish bus riders have complained that the buses were overcrowded and said they were concerned about security risks, Ynet reported. Jewish and Palestinian riders have scuffled verbally and physically on the buses, according to reports.

NEXT STORY