JERUSALEM, August 21, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli police Sunday intensified what it called, security measures in the Old City of Jerusalem as this day marks the 47th anniversary of Al-Aqsa Mosque arson at the hands of an Australian man who studied Torah and wanted to build a new temple.
WAFA correspondent said Israel police deployed hundreds of officers in the streets, neighborhoods entrances and towns and is thoroughly inspecting Palestinians.
The Palestinian National Council said in a press release that even after 47 years of the arson, Israel continues its attempts to change the face of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The council called on both Arab and Muslim organizations to support the people of Jerusalem and their steadfastness, especially in light of settlers increasing violations.
It called on UNESCO to implement its decision which adopts the Arabic and Muslim name for Al-Aqsa Mosque and reject the Israeli name and called for the implementation Security Council resolution number 271, which demanded that Israel respects previous UN Resolutions or else it would receive condemnation.
The morning of August 21, 1969, a fire engulfed the southeastern wing of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Al-Aqsa is known to Muslims all over as Haram-al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). This is a cherished location for Muslims for over 1,300 years, a site visited by Prophet Muhammad on his winged horse, El-Baraq on The Night of Ascend.
The fire destroyed a 1000 year old precious and historic pulpit that was presented by Saladin in the 12th Century. The damage done to the Mosque was restored to some extent with the contribution of $9 million by Jordan, the official custodian.
Heated demonstrations took place in the Arab parts of Jerusalem to condemn this act.
All access points to the Mosque were blocked, hundreds of police officers were recruited to curb the agitators, and a curfew was put in East Jerusalem the same evening.
The initial assumptions stated that an electrical fault became the cause of the fire but reports started spreading about Israelis responsible for it.
The next day brought to limelight another culprit, Dennis Michael Rohan, an Australian tourist who was termed responsible for the arson and was arrested on August 23.
Presented in front of the court, Rohan stated that he was acting as “the Lord’s emissary” following the divine instructions and also stated that his reason for trying to destruct Al-Aqsa Mosque was in order to give a chance to rebuild it as the Jewish Temple. He was later found to be mentally ill and was hospitalized in a mental institution.