Israel charges third Jewish suspect after 'miracle' church arson

A fireman sprays water on debris at the Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha, northern Israel, on June 18, 2015 after a suspected arson attack (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israeli prosecutors on Thursday charged a third Jewish suspect in a probe linked to a June arson attack at a shrine where Christians believe Jesus performed the miracle of loaves and fishes.

Authorities accused Moshe Orbach of writing and distributing a document detailing the "necessity" of attacking non-Jewish property and people as well as laying out practical advice to do so, the justice ministry said.

The document was part of the evidence found during the investigation over the June 18 arson attack at the Church of the Multiplication in northern Israel.

On Wednesday, charges were filed against Yinon Reuveni and Yehuda Asraf for allegedly setting fire to part of the church complex and writing "Idols will be cast out" on a nearby wall.

One of the buildings within the compound was completely destroyed in the blaze but the church itself was not damaged.

The church in Tabgha, on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, is at the site where many Christians believe Jesus fed the 5,000 in the miracle of the five loaves and two fish.

The arson had sparked widespread condemnation and concern from Christians globally, with the site visited by some 5,000 people daily, while also drawing renewed attention to religiously linked hate crimes in Israel.

Orbach had been arrested in 2013 on suspicion of vandalising a Catholic monastery the previous year but was released without being charged.