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Israeli forces detain 6 Jerusalemites in East Jerusalem cemetery

Aug. 5, 2018 3:56 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 6, 2018 4:53 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Six Jerusalemites were detained by Israeli forces, who escorted Israeli settlers to the Palestinian cemetery of Bab al-Rahma, to perform Jewish religious prayers on Sunday in occupied East Jerusalem.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said in statement that Israeli forces raided the Bab al-Rahma cemetery, wall-to-wall with the Al-Aqsa Mosque of its eastern side, and detained six Jerusalemites.

The six detainees were identified as the director of Wadi Hilweh Information Center, Jawad Siyam, Khaled al-Zayer, Muhammad Odeh, Iyad Jaber, Asaad Kashaam, and Mutasem Khalayla.

The detainees were immediately taken in for interrogation.

The center added that following the interrogation, Jawad Siyam was released and explained that two female Israeli settlers raided the cemetery and began to perform religious prayers under the protection of Israeli forces.

Siyam added that while Israeli forces provided protection to Israeli settlers, who performed prayers among Palestinian graves, they had verbally assaulted the Jerusalemites before detaining them.

Siyam pointed out that two of the detainees, al-Zayer and Jaber, were kept at the police station in the Old City of Jerusalem for further investigation, while the other detainees were released immediately.

The center stressed that Israeli settlers raid the Bab al-Rahma cemetery daily to perform religious prayers among the graves. Recently, groups of Israeli settlers purposely broke several graves while performing prayers in the cemetery under the protection of Israeli forces.

In May, Israeli authorities placed metal fences around the parts of the cemetery that it intends on confiscating. Parts of the cemetery, which are subjected to confiscation and destruction, contain the centuries-old graves of Muslim leaders.

While Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, according to Palestinians and the international community, the city has remained an intricate part of the occupied Palestinian territory and would be considered the capital of any future Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution.

The fate of Jerusalem and its holy sites has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the "Judaization" of East Jerusalem.

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