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American tourist armed with hammer arrested in Jerusalem for tearing down statue of Jesus n3td3v American tourist ‘armed with a hammer’ is arrested in Jerusalem for smashing up a statue of Jesus in a …More
American tourist armed with hammer arrested in Jerusalem for tearing down statue of Jesus
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American tourist ‘armed with a hammer’ is arrested in Jerusalem for smashing up a statue of Jesus in a church on the historic Via Dolorosa and shouting: ‘You can’t have idols, this is the holy city’. Israeli police arrested an American tourist today suspected of vandalizing a Jesus statue in a church in the Old City of Jerusalem. The suspect, who is in his forties, damaged a statue of Jesus in the Church of the Condemnation on the historic Via Dolorosa, a processional route believed to be the path Jesus took to his crucifixion. He was detained after shouting at security guards: 'You can't have idols in Jerusalem. This is the holy city.' Police said the man's mental health was being assessed. The American Embassy declined to comment. The as-yet unnamed vandal reportedly entered the church and started hitting the statue with a hammer. The Church of the Condemnation is a Roman Catholic church that forms a monastery with the Church of the Flagellation in the old city of Jerusalem. It was built during the Byzantine era to mark the spot where Jesus took on the cross, according to Christian belief. The Church of Flagellation adjacent was built by Crusaders to make the spot Jesus was flogged by Roman soldiers before walking the Via Dolorosa to Calvary, where he was crucified. The Church of the Condemnation is the second 'station' along the holy 'Via Dolorosa' (the Way of Suffering), which Christians believe is the path Jesus took through Jerusalem on the way to the crucifixion. 'Exodus Chapter 20 says you can't have idols in Jerusalem. This is the holy city,' the man reportedly cried as the guard held him to the ground. Images on social media showed the statue laying horizontally on the floor after apparently being pulled down from a stand at the church. Majid al-Rishq, a gatekeeper who detained the accused, described him as Jewish man armed with a hammer. Idolatry - the worship of idols and the artistic representation of God - is prohibited in Judaism. 'He started hitting the statue of Christ in the Church of the Condemnation. 'I was able to grab him and pull him off it, but he knocked the statue off and broke it,' Rishq told AFP. 'I grabbed him and then the priests came and called the police,' he added. Police officers from the David Precinct with border police officers and with the assistance of the church security guard arrested the suspect in the act. The incident came as tensions run high in Jerusalem and the region following a bloody week. An Israeli military raid in the West Bank killed 10 Palestinians including a 61-year-old woman. A Palestinian shooting attack outside a synagogue in east Jerusalem killed seven people, including a 14-year-old. The unrest comes in the first weeks of Israel's new, far-right government, some of whose ultranationalist, religious members have used inflammatory, anti-Arab rhetoric. Benjamin Netanyahu returned as prime minister of Israel in December 2022. Father Nikodemus Schnabel of the Dormition Abbey just outside the Old City linked the incident to the government's character. 'Welcome to the new Christian-hating Israel, encouraged and supported by the current government!' he tweeted. Police told AFP that two Jewish people had been arrested over an attack on Armenian Christians in the Old City on Saturday. Last month, Christian graves were desecrated on Mount Zion, where Christians believe Jesus' Last Supper took place. Police said they view damage to religious institutions as serious. They said in a statement: 'The police will continue to act with determination against violence and vandalism in the holy sites of all religions. ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
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