Source: Christian Today
November 15, 2016
Two ancient tombs were severely damaged by fires outside Jerusalem's Old City in suspected arson attacks on Friday.
Investigators in Israel do not know who set fire to Absalom's Tomb in the Kidron Valley, opposite the Temple Mount, and the adjacent Tomb of Jehoshephat.
The tombs, which date to the Second Temple period, are among a cluster of ancient graves at the base of the Mount of Olives.
Absalom's Tomb is traditionally identified as a monument to the biblical figure of the same name, though archaeologists have dated the edifice to the 1st century BC.
According to the Times of Israel, the fires broke out around 4:15 pm on Friday and caused extensive damage to the 2,000-year-old structures.
Assaf Avraham, the Israel Park's Authority administrator in charge of the national park surrounding the Old City's walls, said in a statement that the blazes "caused damage to values of [historic] heritage and archaeological gems of great value."
He added: "We will act to the extent of our abilities with law enforcement, including the police, to find those responsible and bring them to justice."
A police spokesman declined to comment on the case.
The Times of Israel reported that three other suspected arson attacks targeting municipal sewage trucks also took place in East Jerusalem on Friday night, but that there was no indication there was any correlation between the fires and the suspected attack on the ancient tombs