World, Middle East

Israel demolishes Muslim graves near Al-Aqsa mosque

Municipality vehicles leave after Palestinians gather on reports of bones found at cemetery during demolition operation

Mustafa Deveci and Esat Firat   | 10.10.2021
Israel demolishes Muslim graves near Al-Aqsa mosque

JERUSALEM, Palestine

The Jerusalem Municipality, which is administered by Israel, on Sunday destroyed Muslim graves near the Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied eastern Jerusalem.

Several graves at the Al-Yusufiye Cemetery near the Al-Aqsa mosque were demolished by the municipality's engineering vehicles in the Old City.

After Palestinians gathered on reports of bones found at the cemetery during the demolition operation, the municipality vehicles left the scene.

Ahmed al-Dajani, executive director of the Commission for the Protection of Muslim Graves, told Anadolu Agency that an Israeli court has given the Israeli Archeology Directorate permission to work on a site close to the graveyard.

He said among the graves demolished were those of Muslims who were martyred in the conflicts between 1948 and 1967, and that Israel will face legal action in response to the municipality's act.

While the region is an indispensable part of the cemetery, the Jerusalem Municipality under Israeli administration has planned to build a park close to Al-Yusufiye Cemetery, he added.

Al-Yusufiye Cemetery, located next to the wall surrounding the Old City, is one of the oldest Muslim graveyards in occupied Jerusalem.

Earlier, the Jerusalem Municipality attempted to demolish a historic staircase that led to the Old City and Al-Aqsa Mosque, but the move was later prevented by the Palestinians.

Both the West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered occupied areas under international law.

* Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara

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