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Palestinians demand return of relatives buried at 'Cemetery of Numbers'

Oct. 23, 2008 9:06 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 23, 2008 9:06 P.M.)
Nablus - Ma'an - Dozens of Palestinians protested in Nablus on Thursday over Israel's refusal to return hundreds of killed fighters held since 1965 in its notorious "Cemetery of Numbers."

The dozens of demonstrators held photos and called for information relating to the burials of relatives at the cemetery inside Israel, some as far back as 1947 but most killed since 1965.

Um Dareen Abu Aisha, whose daughter Dareen was killed in 2002, is still waiting to receive her body, saying that "the wound is still bleeding."

"My lifetime wish is to plant flowers and trees around her grave," she said.

The brother of Iyad Harb, from the Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus, said that "the dignity of those who were killed will not be restored except after taking their bodies to their homeland to be buried."

The previously secret cemeteries are simple graveyards, surrounded with rocks but without gravestones. A specific metal plate is fixed above each grave with a specific number, instead of a name, which is how it got its name.

The names attached to the numbers are held by Israeli security officials.
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