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Israel authorities raze part of Islamic cemetery in East Jerusalem

ISRAEL AUTHORITIES RAZE PART OF ISLAMIC CEMETERY IN EAST JERUSALEM

Mustafa Abu Zahra, head of a local NGO, told reporters that the Israeli authorities razed a section of the Martyrs' Cemetery near the walls of East Jerusalem and adding that an Israeli bulldozer showed up in the area early Monday and destroyed part of the cemetery's western Wall.

The Israeli authorities on Monday morning razed a section of the Martyrs' Cemetery near the walls of East Jerusalem's Old City before being stopped by local residents.

According to Mustafa Abu Zahra, head of a local NGO devoted to protecting the city's Muslim grave sites, an Israeli bulldozer showed up in the area early Monday and destroyed part of the cemetery's western wall.

"The bulldozer pushed about 10 meters into the cemetery before local residents intervened to stop it," Abu Zahra told Anadolu Agency.

According to the activist, Jerusalem's Martyrs' Cemetery contains the remains of about 400 Muslims killed in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which ended with Israel's occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

"This place was designated as a cemetery by Jerusalem's local council before the occupation of the city in 1967," Abu Zahra said.

Now, he added, the Israeli authorities planned to turn the cemetery into a park for Israeli Jews.

Abu Zahra said his NGO was thinking about filing a complaint with the Israeli court system against the decision to turn the Muslim cemetery into a park.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, later annexing the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the new Jewish state's "eternal capital".

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