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Israeli settlers carry out excavations at Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque

July 3, 2018 5:06 P.M. (Updated: July 4, 2018 1:39 P.M.)

HEBRON (Ma'an) -- A group of Israeli settlers carried out excavations in the Ibrahimi Mosque compound in the southern occupied district of Hebron on Tuesday.

The Palestinian Minister of Endowment and Religious Affairs Sheikh Youssef Ideis condemned the attack carried out by a group of Israeli settlers against the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Ideis added that this “racist” attack is a provocative addition to the list of Israeli hate crimes against the Palestinian people, which are planned systematically against various holy sites.

He stressed the need of international institutions to address these illegal practices and assert Palestinian sovereignty over particular holy sites.

Ideis called upon all Palestinians to be at the Ibrahimi Mosque and other holy sites regardless of religious occasions, in order to protect the sites and show the existence of Palestinian people and to not allow historical and cultural Judaization of these sites.

Ismail Abu Halawa, director of the Hebron endowments, said that the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs will apply to UNESCO for urgent intervention to stop such violations and Israeli practices against the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron City.

Following the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre on February 25, 1994 when Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Muslim worshipers at the mosque killing 29 and injuring more than 120, a 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control; the Ibrahimi mosque was also split into a synagogue -- known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs--.

The Ibrahimi Mosque fell under the Israeli military-controlled H2 zone, which also includes the rest of the ancient Old City and the once thriving Shuhada street, now just shuttered shops fronts and closed homes.

Some 800 notoriously aggressive settlers now live under the protection of the Israeli military in the Old City, surrounded by more than 30,000 Palestinians.

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