JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Fire gutted part of the Church of Loaves and Fishes on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel on Thursday and investigators suspected arson as a possible cause, a police spokesman said.
The church, which Christians believe is where Jesus performed the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes, lies on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and is a traditional site of pilgrimage in the Holy Land.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said investigators were at the site and Hebrew graffiti had been found, which led police and fire service investigators to suspect that the fire had been set deliberately.
“Firefighters arrived at the scene at around 3.30 a.m. (00:30 GMT) and it was put out, but extensive damage was caused to the church both inside and out and Hebrew graffiti was found, which has led to suspicions that the fire might have been caused deliberately,” Rosenfeld said.
The graffiti, on a limestone wall in clear red spray paint denounced the worship of idols.