Israeli extremists torch church building in East al-Quds
A seminary building belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church has been set on fire in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in a hate crime attack by Israeli extremists.
According to reports on Thursday, the extremists torched an annex of the church building, writing graffiti that insulting Jesus Christ.
No one was injured or killed in the incident, the reports added.
Israeli authorities imposed a gag order on an investigation into the vandalism case, ordering that no detail of the probe should become publicized.
The vandal attack came a day after a mosque was set ablaze in the village of al-Jaba near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. The attackers sprayed anti-Muslim slogans on a nearby wall.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry denounced the desecration as “an official declaration of religious war.”
Saeb Erakat, a senior Palestinian official, blamed the Israeli regime for continuing its “illegal occupation and colonization based on distorted religious claims,” which provoke “terrorists” into carrying out such attacks on holy sites.
The United Nations also condemned the extremist attack on the mosque, saying it may further complicate the situation in the restive region.
Robert Serry, who serves as the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said, “I am concerned by this and all other religiously motivated attacks and provocations by any party, which may further inflame an already volatile environment.”
“A timely and thorough investigation, as well as bringing the perpetrators to justice, is critical,” he added.
Israeli extremists have recently intensified attacks on Christian and Muslim holy sites in the occupied territories. They have also desecrated al-Aqsa Mosque on numerous occasions with the support of the Israeli security forces.
Israel has tried to change the demographic makeup of al-Quds over the past decades by constructing illegal settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population.