Fire broke out in Al-Aqsa mosque as Notre-Dame cathedral burned

Al-Aqsa mosque catches fire as Notre Dame cathedral in France burns

As Tom O'Connor writes forNewsweek, the Notre-Dame fire "largely overshadowed" the smaller Al-Aqsa one, attracting an outpouring of worldwide shock, grief and, in the days following the blaze, generous pledges of support.

Israeli police have opened an investigation into the incident, reportedly involving the questioning of a guard, who was supposed to be on duty at the time of the accident.

The Palestine News Agency 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 Jerusalem Islamic Waqf handled the matter successfully".

Monday's fire was contained quickly, and no injuries or damage was reported to the 2000-year-old holy worship site.

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The cause of the fire was thought to be an accident.

The room is located under the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif compound in the Old City part of East Jerusalem. The protection of such significant sites is an ongoing and vital endeavor we can all work hard to achieve. Muslims believe that Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to al-Aqsa during the Night Journey. During the Crusades, Al-Aqsa's role as an Islamic prayer hall was temporarily revoked; today, the building hosts more than 5,000 worshippers at a time.

A venerated site in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike, it houses both the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the gold-capped Dome of the Rock - Islam's third-holiest shrine, built on the site of biblical Jewish temples.

Reflecting on the Notre-Dame inferno, Abbas went on to offer "solidarity and sympathy [to] our friends in France".

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