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Settlers burn down ancient tree in Hebron

June 2, 2012 4:19 P.M. (Updated: June 4, 2012 11:05 A.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers set fire to a 1,000-year-old olive tree in central Hebron overnight Friday, witnesses said.

Local activist Issa Amro said the group then hurled stones at a community center in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood on Saturday morning.

Settlers tried to remove the Palestinian flag from the 'steadfastness and challenge' center while Israeli soldiers looked on, he said.

Several days ago a group of settlers stole the building's flag, which activists had since replaced with a new one, Amro added.

Tel Rumeida lies in the Israeli-military controlled H2 zone of the southern West Bank city, after a 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.

The zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque -- also split into a synagogue referred to as the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Around 800 Jewish settlers live in Hebron's Old City, among 30,000 Palestinians in the parts of the city that are under Israeli control.
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