American tourist arrested for attacking Jesus statue in a Jerusalem Catholic church

American tourist arrested for attacking Jesus statue in a Jerusalem Catholic church

An American tourist was arrested in Jerusalem after allegedly pulling down a statue of Jesus inside a church in the city.

Israeli police say that the incident took place inside the Church of the Flagellation, a Roman Catholic Church and pilgrimage site on the city’s Via Dolorosa, reported The Associated Press.

The Via Dolorosa is the route believed to have been walked by Jesus to his crucifixion.

Images posted on social media reportedly show the statue knocked off its plinth and lying on its side on the floor of the church. And in social media video, the suspect can reportedly be heard saying “You can’t have idols in Jerusalem,” and “This is the holy city.”

The suspect can also be heard asking to “put my kipper on” in reference to the traditional head vouchering worn by Jewish men.

Israeli police say that the suspect’s mental health is being assessed.

“We take very serious damage to religious institutions and sites. The police will continue to act against acts of violence and vandalism in the holy places of all religions,” the Israeli police said in a statement.

Father Nikodemus Schnabel of the Dormition Abbey just outside the Old City linked the incident to the character of the current Israeli government.

“Welcome to the new Christian-hating Israel, encouraged and supported by the current government!” he tweeted.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The incident came amid high tensions in the city and region following a week of violence.

Israel’s military carried out a raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank that killed 10 Palestinians, including a 61-year-old woman.

A Palestinian attack outside a synagogue in east Jerusalem killed seven people, including a 14-year-old.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.