Three Arrested on Suspicion of Torching Church of Loaves and Fishes

More arrests are expected in connection with the fire that caused serious damage to the historic Church of the Multiplication in the Galilee.

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Fire damage at the historic Church of the Multiplication, June 18, 2015.
Fire damage at the historic Church of the Multiplication, June 18, 2015.Credit: Israel Fire and Rescue Services
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

Three suspects were arrested early on Sunday in connection with a fire that caused serious damage to the historic Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha, on the Sea of Galilee last month.

The Shin Bet security service is to question the suspects and their remand is expected to be extended at the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on Sunday afternoon. More arrests are expected as part of the joint investigation involving the Shin Bet and the police's nationalist crime unit.

Two people were lightly hurt from smoke inhalation due to the June 17 fire, which caused serious damage to the church structure, roof, reception room, storeroom, the nuns’ office and the gift shop. Hundreds of books were burned.

Graffiti, in Hebrew, was found on site, reading “False idols will be smashed.”

The church is believed to be the site where Jesus fed throngs with miraculously multiplying loaves and fish, and is home to renowned, eye-catching mosaics.

Sixteen yeshiva students, reportedly West Bank settlers, were detained at the time in connection with the blaze but were releases shortly after.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the head of the Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen, to conduct an accelerated investigation into the incident.

The Catholic Church in Israel told Haaretz at that it saw this attack as a continuation of the aggression against holy Christian sites over the last few years, which it said the Israeli government and authorities have failed to deal with accordingly. A report on the matter has been given to the Vatican, the sources said.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this month.

Lapid to Haaretz: ‘I Have Learned to Respect the Left’

“Dubi,” whose full name is secret in keeping with instructions from the Mossad.

The Mossad’s Fateful 48 Hours Before the Yom Kippur War

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer