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No room for more dead: Gaza City cemetery declared full

Sept. 12, 2008 2:34 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 12, 2008 2:34 P.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - Ash-Sheikh Radwan cemetery in central Gaza City has been declared closed by the de facto government in the Gaza Strip.

The Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs announced the cemetary's closure on Friday, urging citizens not to bury the dead in the packed cemetery, because there is no more space.

The cemetery is one of two in the central city area, and has become known as the "Martyrs' Cemetery." It is also where Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Hamas' spiritual leader, was buried in 2004.

The ministry said in a statement received by Ma'an that the cemetery is full and there is no space for more graves. They added that bodies were being buried in "used graves," which is forbidden in Islam, and "considered disrespectful to the souls of the dead."

The Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs appealed people in Gaza to use other cemeteries like Ash-Shuhada which has enough space and to stop using Ash-Sheih Radwan.

The Ash-Shuhada cemetery has not been heavily used for years, after Israeli troops stationed near the cemetery, located on the eastern outskirts of Gaza City, began firing and shelling the area. There were several cases of family members being injured or killed at the cemetery, and many tombs were damaged.

The ministry added that they are working on finding a new area to create a cemetery closer to the city, but said there were problems selecting the particular plot of land to be used.

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