In Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, the chapel reminiscent of Jesus’ ascension to heaven was damaged by the flames because of a possible dispute between local families. The incident does not seem related to a religious extremist attack.
An arson attack hit the Church of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. The sanctuary, where, according to tradition, Jesus ascended into heaven forty days after being resurrected, was damaged by flames on Wednesday, March 8.
Investigations of the Israeli police are currently under way, but, according to the statements of the investigators, a dispute between two families linked to the sacred place may be related to the arson. One person was arrested for questioning.
A car tire may have been burned on the rock at the center of the building, causing damage. A cabinet containing religious postcards and souvenirs sold by an Islamic family authorized by the Waqf, the Muslim authorities of the holy places of Jerusalem, was also damaged.
The Chapel of the Ascension is one of the four holy sites regulated by the Status Quo, but it is the only one under the jurisdiction of the Waqf.
The current building was built by the Crusaders over the ruins of a church built in the 4th century AD and later destroyed by the Persians in 614 and converted into a mosque by Saladin.
This year, the various Christian denominations will gather here to celebrate the ascension of Jesus to heaven. The celebration will take place on May 25, 2017.