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Russia Foreign Ministry calls for prosecuting Israelis responsible for Church of Gethsemane attack

March 25, 2023 at 1:12 pm

Israeli police and firefighters stand outside the Gethsemane Church in Jerusalem after settlers attempted to set fire to the holy site [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images]

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called for the trial of those responsible for the attack on the Church of Gethsemane in occupied Jerusalem.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova shared an official statement: “We are convinced that there is no justification, and that there can never be any justification, for such criminal acts, and hope that the Israeli authorities will provide an unequivocal assessment of what happened and to take comprehensive measures to bring perpetrators to justice and prevent the recurrence of such attacks in the future.”

Zakharova expressed Moscow’s “profound concern” about such abusive behaviour, noting: “The number of anti-Christian incidents has grown at an alarming pace recently, as churches, cemeteries of various Christian denominations, clergy and monks have become targets for these attacks.”

On 19 March, two settlers stormed the church and tried to destroy its contents, inflicting physical harm on clergy members and intimidating visitors and pilgrims.

This is the fifth attack of its kind against Christian places of worship in occupied Jerusalem by Jewish extremists since the beginning of the year. Prior to this, settlers stormed the Church of the Flagellation in the Old City of Jerusalem, broke and destroyed some of its contents, and tried to set it on fire. The cemetery of the Episcopal Church was also attacked, in addition to attempts to break into the Armenian Patriarchate, while racist phrases were written on its walls.

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