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Israeli forces raid East Jerusalem cemetery, destroy tombstones of slain Palestinians

March 12, 2018 2:01 P.M. (Updated: March 13, 2018 10:51 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces destroyed tombstones in a Palestinian cemetery in occupied East Jerusalem early Monday morning, according to local sources.

Husni al-Kilani, supervisor of the al-Mujahideen cemetery, told Ma’an that he received a call at 3 a.m. on Monday informing him that the lock on the main door of the cemetery had been broken, and that the cemetery had been raided.

According to al-Kilani, armed Israeli forces were deployed at the entrance of the cemetery, while what he claimed were officers dressed as civilians, raided the cemetery and destroyed several tombstones using a variety of hand tools.

Al-Kilani told Ma’an that the destroyed tombstones belonged to Muhammad al-Kaluti, Abdullah Abu Kharroub, Thaer Abu Ghazaleh, Bahaa Elayyan, Muhammad Abu Khalaf, Abed al-Muhsen Hassuneh and Muhammad Nimr, who were all killed by Israeli forces during a wave of violence across East Jerusalem and the West Bank that erupted in October 2015.

The tombstones were engraved about a year-and-a-half ago with a verse from the Quran and the sentence "graves of martyrs of the Intifada of Jerusalem,” al-Kilani added.

Following the outbreak of violence, which was largely characterized by small-scale stabbing attacks on uniformed Israeli security personnel, many Palestinians referred to the time period as the Jerusalem Intifada.

Al-Kilani told Ma’an that out that Israeli forces had previously demanded that he remove the words "heroic martyr" that were engraved before the name of each of the deceased Palestinians, and threatened to destroy all the tombstones if he did not.

An old photo of the tombstones

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