While it isn’t surprising that the US news media didn’t cover it with seconds of breaking news, let alone hours of such coverage, there was also a fire today at the al Aqsa Mosque.
fire broke out at the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem just as flames ravaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
Footage showing smoke and fire emerging from the roof of a structure known as the Marwani Prayer Room, or Solomon’s Stables, could be seen on social media. The Palestine News Agency, the official outlet of the Palestinian National Authority, cited a guard as saying Monday that “the fire broke out in the guard’s room outside the roof of the Marwani Prayer Room, and the fire brigade of the Islamic Waqf handled the matter successfully.”
News of the incident at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam and central to the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, was largely overshadowed by a much larger blaze engulfing the Notre Dame Cathedral at the same time.
The Marwani Prayer Room is located underneath the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, which contains both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director general of the Jerusalem Waqf and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs Department, told Jordan’s Al-Mamlaka TV that the fire broke out in the courtyard and preliminary information suggested that it may have been caused by children tampering in the area.
The good news here is that no one appears to have been hurt and the damage was far, far less severe than that at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. While Newsweek has reported that the al Aqsa fire might have been caused by mischief, it is unclear what started it and there are reports of this being an electrical fire.
Apparently it is going to be one of those weeks!