A US tourist has been detained in Israel after reportedly vandalizing ancient Roman artifacts at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The 40-year-old individual allegedly targeted the statues, which he believed to be 'in violation of the Torah,' during a destructive episode.
The Israel Museum confirmed that the damaged items were "ancient Roman statues to the 2nd century CE," housed in its archaeology section. Photographs made available by Israeli officials depicted the centuries-old statues toppled from their stands, with one decapitated and the other shattered into fragments,the Daily Mailreported.
Museum security personnel apprehended the tourist prior to the police's arrival, following reports of the statues being desecrated.
Authorities have released footage displaying the aftermath of an incident at a museum, with ancient sculptures seen fragmented on the ground. The Israel Museum subsequently provided an image of a rod, believed by them to be a potential instrument used during the vandalism, as noted by The Times of Israel.
Following the incident, the individual was taken into custody and is currently being interrogated. Police are considering a plea to the courts to withhold bail for the suspect.
Eli Escusido, head of Israel Antiquities Authority said:
One statue is a marble depiction of the goddess Athena that was found in excavations at Beit She'an in the 1960s.
The second was of the mythological creature Griffin, who was the symbol of divinity in the Roman pagan era and found in the Negev.
This is a shocking case of destruction of cultural heritage. We view with great concern the fact that religious extremists take such action.
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