Synagogue in Armenia vandalized for second time by militant group: Revenge for Gaza?
The ASALA group documented themselves setting fire to the entrance of the Chabad synagogue in Yerevan, which was supposed to be under heavy security
The only synagogue in Armenia, “Mordechai Navi”, situated in Yerevan, was set on fire on Wednesday evening.
This is the second attack on the synagogue in the last two months.
The first one took place on October 3rd, and in both cases the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) group claimed responsibility for the attack on its Telegram channel in Armenian and English. On both occasions, videos of the arson were published first on this channel, along with “manifestos” stating the reasons for the attacks and declaring new threats.
In October, ASALA called its attack “a warning: our successful operation on October 3 in Yerevan is just the beginning.” This time, it boasted of a “successful operation against the global Jewish center,” which “conducts espionage in the interests of Tel Aviv and Aliyev’s Zionist junta,” in reference to the President of Azerbaijan and that country’s strong ties with Israel.
According to the statement published Wednesday, the arson attack came in reaction to the situation in Gaza. “We began our operations three days before the Operation Al-Aqsa Storm. With our second operation, we repeated the success of the Palestinian resistance. This second operation was carried out in solidarity with the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements against Zionism,” the manifesto says. ASALA claims that Israel was rehearsing its “extermination of thousands of children, women, and elderly people” in Karabakh – the region of Azerbaijan that was reclaimed by Baku in September in a quick military operation, after it had been controlled by an unrecognized separatist government for three decades.
ASALA claims that Israel was behind Baku’s operation, and therefore the Armenian militants “fully support the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance.” According to the statement, the group also plastered posters in Yerevan and other Armenian cities showcasing an Israeli flag in which the Star of David is covered by an automatic weapon, and the logos of Hamas and Hezbollah affixed to each corner. Along the bottom of the poster is a line that reads: “We have a common enemy”.
Wednesday night’s manifesto also contained a new threat: “If the armed attacks of the Zionist regime on the Armenian quarter of Jerusalem and the seizure of the property of the Armenian Church do not stop, our next operation will be outside Armenia.” This alludes to the situation in Jerusalem where an Israeli company has leased land belonging to the Armenian Patriarchy in order to build a hotel.
Several hours before the synagogue attack, the Armenian Martyr Nubar Ozanyan Brigade (MNOB) in Syria also issued a statement of support for the “Palestinian resistance.” This is not their first declaration. One month ago, according to the Begin-Sadat Center, MNOB declared their readiness to “fight the Zionist regime” alongside “Palestinian resistance” to protect the “Armenian Church in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque.”
Nubar Ozanyan, who the militant group is named after, was a Turkish-born Armenian communist revolutionary who fought with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine against Israel during the First Intifada.