• Short Summary

    FIRE RAGED TODAY (21 AUGUST) IN THE EL-AQSA MOSQUE IN THE SACRED TEMPLE MOUNT AREA OF OLD JERUSALEM.

  • Description

    FIRE RAGED TODAY (21 AUGUST) IN THE EL-AQSA MOSQUE IN THE SACRED TEMPLE MOUNT AREA OF OLD JERUSALEM. THE MOSQUE, ISLAM'S MOST SACRED SHRINE AFTER MECCA AND MEDINA, STANDS ONLY A FEW YARDS (METRES) FROM THE WAILING WALL OF THE JEWS. A CURFEW WAS IMPOSED IN THE CITY AS AN ATMOSPHERE OF RECRIMINATION BUILT UP AROUND THE FIRE.

    THE FIRE GUTTED THE SOUTH-EAST WING OF THE MOSQUE BUT THE VAST SILVER DOME REMAINED UNDAMAGED. AS SMOKE ROSE OVER THE BUILDING, CROWDS OF ARABS RAN TO THE SCENE. SOME WENT INTO THE MOSQUE TO DRAG OUT THE THICK-PILED PRAYER CARPETS ON WHICH THE FAITHFUL PROSTATE THEMSELVES TOWARDS MECCA.

    ISRAELI FIREMEN WHO ARRIVED TO TACKLE THE BLAZE WERE INVOLVED IN SCUFFLES WITH ARABS. SOME ARABS PUSHED FIREMEN AWAY AND TRIED TO FIGHT THE FIRE THEMSELVES, OTHER DISMANTLES SOME OF THEIR HOSES.

    SECURITY FORCES WITH ARMOURED CARS WERE CALLED IN TO ENABLE THE FIREMEN TO TACKLE THE BLAZE.

    AMONG THOSE WHO WENT TO VIEW THE DAMAGE WAS SHEIKH MUHTHASED, THE ACTING CHIEF KADI (JUDGE) AND PRESIDENT OF THE JERUSALEM MOSLEM COUNCIL. HE CLAIMED THE ISRAELI FIREMEN WERE "SLOW AND INEFFICIENT" IN TACKLING THE FIRE AND SAID A BLOND ENGLISH-SPEAKING YOUTH WAS SUSPECTED OF STARTING THE FIRE.

    BUT ISRAELI FIRE CHIEF AVRAHAM LIBERMAN SAID IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY SPARKS FROM A WELDING MACHINE FOUND ON THE SCENE OR BY AN ELECTRICAL SHORT CIRCUIT.

    IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE FIRE ABOUT 800 ARABS STAGED AN ANTI-ISRAELI DEMONSTRATION IN THE OLD CITY. THE DEMONSTRATORS WERE LED BY A GROUP OF YOUNG MEN CARRYING A STONE INSCRIPTION FROM THE KORAN WHICH THEY HAD TAKEN FROM THE MOSQUE.

    ISRAELI TROOPS FIRED WARNING SHOTS AND ORDERED THE DEMONSTRATORS TO DISPERSE. THE CURFEW WAS LATER LIFTED BUT SECURITY FORCES AND BORDER TROOPS REMAINED ON THE ALERT. THE TEMPLE MOUNT AREA REMAINED UNDER STRICT SECURITY WHILE INVESTIGATIONS CONTINUED INTO THE CAUSE OF THE FIRE.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA4PPAE966EW1OVU2DQZ5YNB17O
    Media URN:
    VLVA4PPAE966EW1OVU2DQZ5YNB17O
    Group:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    21/08/1969
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:22:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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