Monday, July 15

Al-Aqsa Mosque: Firefighters tackle blaze in Jerusalem (video)



The Al Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in the world for Muslims, was ablaze at the same time as an inferno gripped the Notre Dame cathedral.

The fire, in Jerusalem’s old town, broke out on the same tragic night one of Europe’s most famous Christian sites also burned in France.

Footage of the incident shows smoke filling the street as bright flame flicker and people cry out in surprise.

Fortunately, the fire did not cause major damage to the iconic structure, but it did endanger a part that is over 2,000 years old.

Initial reports suggested the incident was caused by an electrical fault but others claim playing children could be responsible.

The blaze was contained to Marwani Prayer Room, also known as Solomon’s Stables, and did not spread, the Wafa news agency reports.

The historic room is thought to have been built by King Herod, who is said to have been the king of Judea when Jesus was born.

The mosque was built on top of the Temple Mount, known as Haram esh-Sharif in Islam, and also contains the Dome of the Rock.

Muslims believe that Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to al-Aqsa.

Nearby are historical sites significant in Judaism and Christianity, including the Second Temple, the holiest site in Judaism.

The area has heavy security and has been at the centre of much of the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The Palestine News Agency reported that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas office expressed its deep regret Monday over the fire that broke out at the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in the center of the French capital of Paris, which caused the collapse of the cathedral tower.

The outlet added: The Presidency confirmed its solidarity and sympathy with our friends in France over this incident.