Israeli settlers target Jerusalem church in 'arson attack'
Fire ravaged an entrance to the Romanian Orthodox Church in East Jerusalem's Musrara neighbourhood until a priest bought it under control, local sources told The New Arab's Arabic language sister-site.
There were no reported casualties, but the incident was immediate deplored by an assembly representing Catholic churches in the Holy City, who blamed the attack on "extremist Jewish settlers".
"We, the Catholic Churches unite with the Orthodox Churches and all other churches in Jerusalem in strongly condemning such acts of sabotage that not only harm the lives of Christians but also harm many of those who still believe in dialogue and mutual respect," the council said in a statement reported by Anadolu Agency.
Churches in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians seek as the capital for their future state, have been targeted in recent months.
Their location near the expanding Jewish settlements, deemed illegal by the international community, has made churches more susceptible to such attacks.
On 2 February, a hardline Israeli settler was caught on camera smashing the lock on the gate to the Romanian Orthodox Church and a CCTV camera.
In December, Reuters reported that a 49-year-old Israeli man was arrested after pouring flammable liquid inside the Church of All Nations by the Garden of Gethsemane in East Jerusalem, a site revered by Christians as the place where Jesus prayed before he was crucified.
Both Muslim and Christian religious sites have been targeted by extremist Jewish settlers, enabled by the Israeli authorities who turn a blind eye to their attacks.
Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, committing various crimes against Palestinian civilians.
More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.