Israel arrests man who doused inside of church with fuel

Friday’s incident took place at a Catholic church in Jerusalem built on a site that Christians believe Jesus was betrayed by Judas.

By Associated Press

Israeli police said Friday they arrested a Jewish man after he poured out a “flammable liquid” inside a church near Jerusalem’s Old City, in what they described as a “criminal” incident.

The police did not provide further details about the motive.

Friday’s incident took place at the Church of All Nations, a Catholic church built on the traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane, where Christians believe Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of his followers, and arrested by the Romans before being crucified.

The Roman Catholic custodian in the Holy Land, Francesco Patton, condemned the incident and called for “a serious investigation.” He said it was no simple criminal attack but a “terrible, humiliating and intentional act.”

His statement said the attacker used a firebomb — a claim that could not immediately be reconciled with the police statement about the attacker pouring out a flammable liquid. The police also circulated a photograph of wooden pews with black stains on them.

A 2015 arson attack caused extensive damage to the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, a popular pilgrimage site on the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel.