American arrested in Jerusalem on suspicion of vandalizing a church

He is suspected of having “hit the statue of Christ” with a hammer. An American tourist was detained by Israeli police on Thursday while desecrating the Chapel of Condemnation in the Old City.

“I was able to grab him and pull him away from it but he dropped it and broke it,” said Majid al-Rishq, the guardian of the chapel. The priests arrived and called the police. »

Israeli police said they had opened an investigation after arresting an American tourist, in his forties. His psychological condition is being examined, according to the police.

Church targeted by attacks, local officials say

The vandalized wooden statue was brought to Jerusalem from Spain in 1912, said Eugenio Alliata, director of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum (SBF) archaeological museum, which collects artifacts from the Holy Land.

The Chapel of Condemnation stands on the site where Jesus was sentenced to death, according to Christian tradition.

It is located within the grounds of the Church of the Flagellation located on the Via Dolorosa, the Path of Suffering, in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Old City is located in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian area occupied and annexed by Israel.

In December 2021, local church leaders claimed that Christians had “become the target of repeated attacks by radical and marginal groups” in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Holy Land and denounced the inaction of the Israeli authorities.

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