Al Qaeda-linked rebels trash millennia-old Syrian synagogue, hold sacred Torah scrolls hostage

Al Qaeda-linked rebels trash millennia-old Syrian synagogue, hold sacred Torah scrolls hostage

[Ed. note: One man’s Koran burning is another’s bonfire.]

Torah scrolls and other Judaica plundered from an ancient Damascus synagogue are being held by an Islamist group inside Syria, which is demanding the release of prisoners captured by the Assad regime in return for the items, The Times of Israel has learned.

Reports on the destruction and looting of the millennia-old Jobar synagogue in Damascus emerged as early as March, but those responsible for the theft have never been clearly identified, as government and opposition forces traded accusations.

The Jobar synagogue — said to be 2,000-years-old — was built on the site where the prophet Elijah is said to have concealed himself from persecution and anointed his successor, Elisha, as a prophet. It was badly damaged in March by mortars reportedly fired by Syrian government forces; some reports say the building was destroyed.

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