US tourist detained for damaging statue of Christ in Jerusalem with a hammer

An American was arrested this Thursday for vandalizing a temple in the Old City of Jerusalemthe Israeli police said.

The suspect was arrested after a wooden statue of Jesus was toppled and damaged in the Church of Condemnation, where Christians believe Christ was scourged and sentenced to death.

“The arrested suspect is an American tourist in his 40s who vandalized and broke a statue in the church,” said a police statement, in which he explained that his mental health is being evaluated.

Majid al-Rishq, the guard who captured the defendant, described him as a Jew armed with a hammer.

“He started hitting the statue of Christ in the Church of Condemnation… I was able to grab him and pull him away from it, but he knocked the statue over and broke it,” Rishq told AFP.

The wooden figure was brought to Jerusalem from Spain in 1912, said Eugenio Alliata, director of the SBF Archaeological Museum, which brings together objects from the Holy Land.

The Old City is located in Jerusalem This, annexed by Israel, and houses holy places for Christians, Jews and Muslims.

This temple is located on the Via Dolorosa which, according to Christians, marks the path that Jesus traveled before his crucifixion.