Sobhy Makhoul, the chancellor of the Maronite Patriarchate in Jerusalem, told AsiaNews that the fire that broke out over the weekend at St Charbel Maronite Monastery (pictured) in Bethlehem was deliberately set. “It was an act of arson, not a fire caused by an electrical problem, an act of sectarian vandalism by radical Muslims.”
The fire caused no casualties or injuries because the building is currently unoccupied and under renovation, but the damage is evident and the local Christian community is now fearful of further violence.
The arsonists “got inside a room that had a lot of stuff, including furniture,” said Sobhy Makhoul, because the building is undergoing restoration work. "The fire reached it and spread quickly throughout the structure."
Police sources said that Muslim extremist groups have been active in the area and the culprits are already knows and should “be soon apprehended.”
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