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Israel bans publication of details of report into church arson attack

Israeli police yesterday obtained a court order banning the publication of details of the investigation into the burning of Tabgha’s Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish last week.

Large crowds participated in the Sunday mass in the church and the protest rally following it.

A Jerusalem magistrate’s court banned the publication of any details which could lead to the identification of any of the suspects.

The decision is valid until the 21 July.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the General Security Service to investigate the attack on the church.

Since 2011, 17 hate crimes have been committed inside the Green Line in Jerusalem. The perpetrators of the 17 crimes, which targeted mosques and churches, have not been prosecuted.

According to a report published last week by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the early months of 2014 saw a 200 per cent increase in such crimes which were attributed to far right groups. The overwhelming majority of the criminals responsible for those attacks were not brought to trial.

Thousands of Arab Israelis protested on Sunday against the arson attack. The demonstrators called for the protection of Christian and Muslim holy sites from Jewish settlers. The former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, and Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo led a special Mass inside the church “in protest against the deliberate attack”.

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