Numerous Masked Muslims Attack Armenian Christian Clergy in Jerusalem

Armenian clerics in Jerusalem became the targets of a violent attack carried out by more than 30 masked Arab Muslims on Thursday. The Armenian Patriarchate revealed to the Jerusalem Post that the priests are currently battling for their lives, with several of them sustaining serious injuries during the assault.

The ambush is said to have been provoked by a lawsuit aimed at annulling an agreement regarding the leasing of a portion of the Armenian Quarter. The Jerusalem Post reported that the lawsuit was filed by the Armenian Patriarchate in response to a deal made over two years ago to lease a fourth of the Armenian Quarter to Australian Jewish developer Danny Rothman (Rubinstein) and his Christian Arab partner George Warwar (Hadad) for a period of 98 years. The decision sparked outrage among local and international Armenians, leading to protests and a weekly vigil in an effort to pressure the Patriarchate into revoking the agreement.

The developers are accused by the Armenian Patriarchate of resorting to violence as a means to intimidate the clerics. Bishop Koryoun Baghdasaryan informed the Jerusalem Post that instead of following a legal process, the developers allegedly enlisted criminals to carry out the attack on the Armenian community.

According to a report by the Jerusalem Post, the Armenian Patriarchate sent an official letter to the police and the Israeli government detailing the violent attack. The letter described how over 30 armed assailants wearing ski masks and some carrying weapons launched a coordinated physical attack on a group of Armenian bishops, priests, deacons, and other citizens in the Old City of Jerusalem. Furthermore, the Patriarchate stated that several priests, students, and indigenous Armenians were left with serious injuries as a result of the attack.

Bishop Koryoun Baghdasaryan, who serves as the director of the Real Estate Department for the Patriarchate, shared with the Post that the attackers used pepper spray and other chemicals, targeting seminary students, some of whom had to be taken to the hospital. The police acknowledged the receipt of the letter and confirmed that arrests were made on both sides, encompassing both Armenians and Muslims allegedly involved in the attack. However, no official charges have been laid, according to the police.

The situation remains tense in Jerusalem as Armenian Christians and their leaders grapple with the aftermath of the violent assault. The incident has further heightened tensions surrounding the controversial land lease agreement, with the Armenian Patriarchate continuing its efforts to seek justice and protection for its community. The assault serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by religious and cultural minority groups in the region, shedding light on the ongoing struggle for survival and security in the heart of the Holy City.

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