Church of the Multiplication
Church of the Multiplication Rishwanth Jayapaul / Flash 90

Firefighters responding to a blaze at a church on the shores of the Kinneret Thursday were witness to a defacing attack by still-unknown parties.

The graffiti scrawled on the walls of Tabgha's Church of the Multiplication, in Hebrew, was taken from a passage in the Hebrew prayerbook, asking that “the worshippers of idols be destroyed.”

The church is considered an important one in Christian tradition, and is mentioned several times in the Gospels. Firefighters put out the blaze, and police arrived on the scene to take evidence.

Police have opened an investigation into both the defacing and the fire, which they believe was set intentionally. The fire caused “considerable damage” to the church, police said.

In addition to the fire at Tabgha, firefighters also responded to reports of a blaze at the Catholic Church of Capernaum, also located at the Kinneret.

Five firefighting crews managed to douse the blaze, which appears to have started in a storeroom in the adjacent guesthouse. Damage was reported to a room at the guesthouse, and to a chapel.