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Jewish extremist set fire to church where it's believed Jesus fed the 5,000

by Tola Mbakwe

In 2015, Nazareth District Court accused 22 year old Yinon Reuveni of setting ablaze the The Church of the Multiplication, a church at Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee. He was found guilty on Monday.

The church is known as the place where Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes, also known as the Feeding of the 5,000.

According to the BBC, the fire caused a lot of damage to a shop and other nearby buildings. It's claimed the arsonist also wrote "Idols will be cast out or destroyed" in Hebrew on the walls.

Despite the extensive damage and vandalism, the fire didn't destroy the church's 5th Century mosaic floors, which is a key feature in the church.

The church building underwent an £800,000 eight month renovation following the fire and reopened in February 2017.

According to the BBC, Reuveni said he committed arson because of his hostile feelings toward the Christian faith. Israeli media also reported the man was involved in several other hate crimes and connected with other extremists before setting the church on fire.

A second man was acquitted of the charges against him in the case.

The Times of Israel reported that a third suspect is still awaiting trial.

The prosecutor said the verdict made a strong statement on Jewish terrorism. However, the defence lawyer said he will appeal the judge's decision.

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