Police in Jerusalem are investigating a possible terror attack after a massive fire broke out at Jerusalem's City Hall on Wednesday afternoon.
Given multiple building at the sprawling complex were shown in local media reports set ablaze, it appears the result of an arson attack.
Unconfirmed Israeli media reports say a suspect was seen hurling molotov cocktails at the buildings before fleeing on foot.
Fire in the Jerusalem City Hall, unknown if anyone is trapped inside. pic.twitter.com/akN8Wm3FAj— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) April 22, 2020
The Jerusalem Post reports that a 40-year-old man from East Jerusalem has been apprehended, even as firefighters at the scene continue battling the blaze.
A second fire was started in another building in the Jerusalem City Hall complex. pic.twitter.com/xrlzAOLc5O— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) April 22, 2020
JPost reports the following:
The Jerusalem City Hall spokesperson said that once the fire was detected emergency procedures were activated and police and firefighters were called to the scene. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
Eight teams of firefighters are currently at work putting out the fire and searching for anyone who might be trapped in the building.
Police arrested a 40-year-old man for allegedly starting the fire. The man is reportedly a resident of East Jerusalem.
Staff from Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion's office were seen evacuating, as well as other city hall employees, though it's as yet unknown if anyone is trapped inside the burning complex.
Any potential casualties or injuries are also unknown, but early reports suggest everyone escaped uninjured.
"Multiple reports state that an eyewitness has told police that he witnessed someone throwing a molotov cocktail into the building," a separate local Israeli media report indicated.
"A spokesperson for City Hall tells the media in a written statement that Police have arrested a suspect," the report said.
By the evening hours (local time) the blaze was reportedly subdued, however, damage to the building appeared substantial and far-reaching.
Firefighters have put out a fire in Jerusalem's City Hall. A man was arrested on suspicion of arson.— TPS - Israel's News Agency (@TPS_News_co_il) April 22, 2020
(Photos by TPS) pic.twitter.com/k7I1FZDHD9
The attacker's motive is also as yet unclear. It may be related to the ongoing Arab Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which has led to continually tense situations in East Jerusalem.
Fire department says no danger of building collapse— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) April 22, 2020
Photos from inside the Jerusalem City Hall after the arson attack. pic.twitter.com/BJ15MASndy
Or the attack was possibly connected with Israel's draconian coronavirus lockdown - seen as among the most aggressive police-enforced 'stay at home' mandates in the world, itself recently driving local protests and even riots among both Arab residents of Jerusalem and ultra-Orthodox Jews.
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