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Israeli forces dynamite six-storey building in Beit Hanina

July 28, 2008 8:24 P.M. (Updated: July 28, 2008 8:24 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces destroyed a six-storey building belonging to Majid Abu 'Eisha in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina on Monday evening, on the pretext that it was built without a permit.

Eyewitnesses told Ma'an that a large number of heavily armed Israeli forces and police prevented citizens and solidarity activists, who had gathered near the house for the past two days, from approaching the building. Israeli police then forced the residents outside, before placing explosives in the building and detonating them. Eyewitnesses reported that the upper stories collapsed onto the lower part of the building, and the structure was reduced to a pile of rubble. Nearby houses were damaged from the force of the explosion.

Earlier on Monday, a number of citizens and activists who had gathered at the building to try to prevent its demolition were injured when Israeli forces stormed the house. Several people were transported to local hospitals.

Those injured included Hatim Abdul-Qadir, an advisor to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Jerusalem affairs. He described the the Israeli raid as "brutal," noting that soldiers attacked protesters and residents of the house. He pointed out that such violence was unprecedented and that police dogs were used. However, he added, violence will not terrify Jerusalem residents, who will defend their houses regardless of the repercussions.

Israeli authorities frequently demolish Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem on the pretext that they have been built without a permit, although it is extremely difficult for Palestinians to obtain building permits from the Israeli authorities.

*** updated at 21:00 local time
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