Ancient Shrine Believed to be Burial Place of Esther and Mordecai Hit With Small Fire in Iran

Officials in Iran have confirmed that a small fire broke out May 15 at the site of an ancient shrine long revered as the burial place of Esther and Mordecai.

According to the Times of Israel, an investigation revealed that someone was caught in CCTV footage attempting to enter the holy site through an adjacent bank and “perform a series of actions” but failed. The publication cited opposition news sites that quoted the state-run news organization in the nation, the Islamic Republic News Agency.

The IRNA report detailing the incident was scrubbed from its website mere hours after it was published Saturday, Radio Farda and Iran International websites said.

The hall housing the tomb itself was not damaged, Iranian officials reportedly stressed. International Christian Concern reported last week that the director-general of Hamadan’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department announced that the fire only touched the annex building and not the main site.

The incident took place on May 15, the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the modern nation-state of Israel. Israel’s adversaries, which include the Iranian regime, refer to May 15 as Nakba Day, which means “day of catastrophe.”

The arsonist’s face was captured on camera but the person’s identity and motives have not been made public as such things cannot be provided absent an arrest.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center rights organization condemned the attack in a statement, calling the event “barbaric” and likening it to Nazi desecrations of Jewish sacred sites.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter