Israeli police: American arrested for vandalizing church

Images on social media show the statue of Jesus laying on the ground after apparently being pulled down from a stand at the church; Police say the man’s mental health was being assessed

Associated Press|
Israeli police on Thursday arrested an American tourist after he allegedly knocked down and broke a statue of Jesus in a church in Jerusalem’s Old City.
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  • Images on social media showed the statue laying horizontally on the floor after apparently being pulled down from a stand at the church.
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    The statue of Jesus
    (Photo: AFP)
    The incident occurred in the Church of the Flagellation, which is located on the Via Dolorosa, the route believed to have been walked by Jesus to his crucifixion.
    Police said they made the arrest with the assistance of a church security guard. Video on social media showed a man sitting atop the alleged vandal who is heard saying “you can’t have idols in Jerusalem, this is the holy city.”
    Police said the man’s mental health was being assessed. The American Embassy declined to comment.
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    The damaged statue
    (Photo: EPA)
    The incident came as tensions run high in Jerusalem and the region following a bloody week. A Palestinian terrorist killed 7 Israelis outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem on Friday, including a 14-year-old.
    In addition, a second terror attack occurred on Saturday, when a 13-year-old Palestinian shot and wounded 2 Israelis in the neighborhood of Silwan, located in the City of David.

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