Middle East

Jesus miracle church in Israel reopens after arson attack

Christians attend a mass at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish in Tabgha Image copyright AFP
Image caption Christian dignitaries and donors attended the reopening ceremony

A mass has been held to reopen a Roman Catholic church in northern Israel badly damaged in an arson attack by Jewish extremists in 2015.

The church at Tabgha, on the Sea of Galilee, is built where Christians believe Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes, also known as the Feeding of the 5,000.

The eight-month renovation work cost some $1m (£800,000).

Three Jewish extremists have been indicted but not yet sentenced.

The arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes caused extensive damage to a book shop and other buildings at the complex.

But it did not destroy the 5th Century mosaic floors which are its key archaeological feature.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption A mass on Sunday marked the church's reopening
Image copyright AP
Image caption A verse from a Hebrew prayer denouncing the worship of "idols" was found spray-painted in red on a wall of the church after the attack
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Attack was termed as a hate crime against Christians
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The church is a sacred site to the many thousands of Christian pilgrims who visit the Holy Land every year
Image copyright EPA
Image caption The Israeli government reportedly contributed almost $400,000 to restoration

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