'One of the structures in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem has caught fire on Monday night at the same time a massive blaze was ravaging Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral. The fire was put out quickly with no injuries reported.
“The fire broke out in the guard’s room outside the roof of the Marwani Prayer Room,” Wafa news agency said, noting that the “fire brigade of the Islamic Waqf handled the matter successfully.”
Footage posted on social media showed smoke rising from the top of the Marwani Prayer Room, also known as Solomon’s Stables, as firefighters tried to extinguish the flames on top of the Temple Mount, the third holiest site in Islam that has been at the center of the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict.
حريق داخل المسجد الأقصى !
النيران التهمت غرفة حراس المصلى المرواني بالمسجد . pic.twitter.com/oYEbPLXjiL
— منصور أبو عبيدة (@Mansorryaan) April 15, 2019
While the cause of the incident has yet to be determined, Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director general of the Jerusalem Waqf and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs Department, hinted that the fire could have been started by children who were seen playing in the area.
Responding to the incident, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned anyone against targeting the holy site, stressing the need to preserve the compound's “great religious and humanitarian value.”'
Read more: Fire erupts at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Temple Mount in Old Jerusalem