Church burning: Christian org. warns against speculation
International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem says it does not appear the blaze was a 'price tag' attack by Jewish settlers.
By JONAH MANDEL
As speculation over the motives behind a weekend attack against a church in the center of Jerusalem grows, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ) on Sunday warned against labeling the arson as a "price tag" attack by extremist Jewish settlers.Overnight Thursday the Christian Alliance headquarters on Rehov Hanevi'im was set ablaze, causing extensive damage to the historic building and harming the ten guests who were in the building at the time. Several of them were treated for smoke inhalation at the adjacent Bikur Holim hospital, and one suffered from shock. A police spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that they were still waiting for the firefighters' investigative report, to determine whether the fire was intentional.RELATED:Pope: Mideast peace is possible, urgently needed ‘Only Israel can uphold freedom at J’lem’s Christian sites' A member of the complex's staff, however, told The Jerusalem Post that police had already affirmed that the blaze was no accident, and noted the testimony of a person in the building who said that at time of the fire a group of orthodox Jews outside the building were saying “let it burn.”In a release on Sunday, the ICEJ set out to amend the impression that the attack on the Christian Alliance building might be in the same vein of the arson attacks against West Bank mosques, or even part of an Israeli attempt to drive Arab Christians out of the Holy Land."The International Christian Embassy condemns the arson attack on the Christian Alliance church and hospice... which not only damaged an historic church building but also seriously endangered the lives of a number of guests staying in the facility,” the statement read. “We urge Israeli authorities to investigate this matter thoroughly and prosecute those found responsible. We note that this process has already begun and while no conclusions can be drawn yet, it appears this was not a "price tag" attack by extremist Jewish settlers, as some media are already claiming.”“In that regard, however, the Christian Embassy also condemns the recent arson attacks on mosques in Palestinian villages, and insists that the sanctity of houses of worship and those practicing their faith therein be fully respected by all communities in the Holy Land," the statement read.
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