Palestinian Authority police on Saturday arrested the local head of the Syrian Orthodox Church as he visited Bethlehem.
Palestinian security sources and eyewitnesses told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency that Archbishop Sewerios Malki Murad (pictured) was taken into custody during a parade near the Church of the Nativity.
He was reportedly returning from a celebration of Syrian Orthodox heritage when police blocked the archbishop’s entourage and arrested him.
A Palestinian police spokesperson said very vaguely that Murad faced “civil charges.”
Syrian Orthodox Christians are said to have appealed to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to release Murad, and have threatened to “leave Palestine [sic]” is such harassment of Christians continues.