Palestinian mosque in Israel targeted with Molotov cocktails

Palestinian mosque in Israel targeted with Molotov cocktails
The Sayyidna Ali Mosque is in the Israeli city of Herzliya where the village of Al-Haram once stood, before its population was displaced during the 1948 Nakba.
2 min read
03 February, 2023
A previous attack on the Sayyidna Ali Mosque took place in January 2019 [Dani Barchana/Getty-file photo]

Molotov cocktails were thrown at a mosque on Thursday, in an Israeli city that was built on the land of a former Palestinian village.

The Sayyidna Ali Mosque is in Herzliya near Tel Aviv, where the village of Al-Haram was once located before its population was displaced during the 1948 Nakba (Arabic for "catastrophe").

The Nakba saw hundreds of thousands of Palestinians ethnically cleansed from their towns and villages by Zionist militias in the run-up to the creation of Israel.

It follows a previous attack on the mosque in January 2019, The New Arab's Arabic sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

"My son and I live in the Sayyidna Ali Mosque and I have been working to guard it for years," said Mohammed Tayeh, who has guarded the site for 38 years and who delivers the call to prayer there.

"This morning, we woke up and saw two Molotov cocktails on the roof of the mosque, with minor damage and burns recorded," he said.

"We did not hear exactly when the Molotov cocktails were thrown because of the rainy weather and the loud sound of the wind."

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Tayeh said they called the police as soon as they found the two bottles, adding that officers examined the site and opened a file to investigate what happened.

Christian and Muslim places of worship in Israel and occupied East Jerusalem are often attacked by Israeli extremists.

Radical Israelis also routinely storm Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, with many of them wanting to see a Jewish temple built in its place.

Such raids often see extremist Jews pray at the site, despite worship being reserved for Muslims under the longstanding status-quo agreement.

Many Palestinians worry about Israeli attempts to split Al-Aqsa, the third-holiest site in Islam, between Jews and Muslims in terms of time and space available for use.

Also on Thursday, a Jewish American tourist allegedly knocked a statue of Jesus over in East Jerusalem's Old City, according to churchgoers.

"Exodus Chapter 20 says you can't have idols in Jerusalem. This is the holy city," the suspect reportedly said while a guard kept him on the floor.

The suspect was detained by Israeli police after a wooden statue of Jesus was pulled down and damaged in the Church of the Condemnation, where Christians believe Jesus was flogged and sentenced to death.

The police said the arrested man was in his forties and that his mental health was being assessed.

Agencies contributed to this report.