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Foundation: Israel razes Muslim gravestones

June 26, 2011 1:33 P.M. (Updated: June 27, 2011 11:11 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities bulldozed over 100 gravestones in a 12th-century Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem overnight Saturday, the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage said.

The foundation said three bulldozers, two trucks and around 20 workers entered the historic Mamilla (Ma'man Allah) cemetery at 11 p.m. and destroyed over 100 gravestones, loading rubble from the gravestones into a truck.

Advisor of the Islamic movement in Israel Sheikh Ali Abu Sheikha notified the foundation of the demolitions.

The foundation sent a delegation to document the destruction, and said Israeli workers left the area when journalists arrived.

In 2009, Israel disinterred over 1,500 graves in the historic cemetery to build a Museum of Tolerance on the historic site, funded by the US Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Following another series of demolitions in the cemetery in August 2010, UN General Assembly President Ali Treki expressed "profound concern" at what he described as a "sacrilegious and provocative act against the spirit of peace as well as dialogue among civilizations and religions."

The Jerusalem Municipality said the gravestones destroyed in August 2010 were "built illegally with the aim to take over the plot."

Prophet Muhammad's companions, numerous Sufi saints, jurists and Palestinian dignitaries are said to be buried at the site.
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