5 Sep 2012

Arson and graffiti at monastery

10:25 am on 5 September 2012

Police in Israel have begun an investigation into an arson attack on a Christian monastery near Jerusalem.

Vandals also sprayed anti-Christian graffiti on the walls of the Cistercian (Trappist) monastery, the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Sept-Douleurs, at Latrun.

Police are looking into whether the attack at 3.30am on Tuesday was in retaliation for an eviction of 50 families from Migron, north of Jerusalem, on Sunday.

The eviction followed a Supreme Court ruling that the outpost had to be demolished by Tuesday because it was built on Palestinian land.

Migron was a rallying cry for hardline groups opposed to any withdrawal from the occupied West Bank.

A BBC correspondent says such vandalism is sometimes referred to as a "price-tag" attack.

About 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel's occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.