A mob of Muslim men attacked a church in Beit Sahour – a suburb of Bethlehem south of Jerusalem – on Friday night in what one church leader called “horrific.”

Videos on social media show a large crowd of young men swarming outside The Forefathers Orthodox Church, throwing rocks at the building while sirens wailed in the background. According to some of the posts on social media, the attack on the church was led by Muslims.

Beit Sahour, a tiny Palestinian town, is predominantly Christian.

“It is very unfortunate and enraging to watch what happened last night in the attack on the Greek Orthodox Church of The Forefathers in Beit Sahour by a group of thugs, following a quarrel between some young men,” Wadie Abunassar, spokesman for the Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land, said on Facebook. “I call on the Palestinian Authority not to tolerate the aggressors at all, but to bring them to trial as soon as possible.”

ALL ARAB NEWS has been unable to find out if there were injuries or arrests, or to ascertain the extent of damage.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem Atallah Hanna condemned the attack, which he called “unprecedented.”

“What happened on Friday night in Beit Sahour distorts the image of our people and harms civil peace and the good relationship that binds us as the sons of the Palestinian people,” Hanna said. “The church is not a place for settling accounts, fomenting sedition and undermining the unity of our people. What happened in Beit Sahour was horrific.”

The hilly suburb is believed to be the the place where the angel appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus nearby in Bethlehem. It is also believed to the the place that Ruth gleaned the fields of Boaz.

The Forefathers Orthodox Church was originally built in 1895 but destroyed in an earthquake in 1940. It was rebuilt in 1952.

Share this article