Greek-Catholic Archbishop Elias Shakour said on Saturday that the images of gas bombs and stunt grenades fired by the Israeli army in the courtyard of the second holiest church for the Christian faith are embarrassing to Israel and the world.“The priests and I, as well as honorable Muslim men, worked all evening, with utmost restraint, in order to prevent bloodshed after the attack against the Church of Annunciation” Shakour stated.
Shakour was commenting on the terrorist attack carried out by by a Jewish extremist, his wife and his daughter who entered the church and exploded gas and firecrackers in the church.
He added that the images of soldiers and policemen firing gas bombs and stunt grenades at the courtyard of the second holiest church are serious and embarrassing to Israel and the world.
He expressed his deep appreciation to the crowd of Muslim and Christian youth who gathered in the church’s courtyard after the explosion to protect the church.
Shakour, who also suffered teargas inhalation, said that he worked to ease the tensions and to prevent a bloodshed after the attack.
Shakour added that Bishops held prayers in the church after the attack and helped in reestablishing order in the area; the church held normal mass on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni called her Vatican counterpart Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo and informed him that “Israel will do its best to protect the holy sites”.
The acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called on Saturday Nazareth mayor Ramez Jaraisi, asking for calm, adding that the police will investigate the incident.