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Attackers desecrate Palestinian Christian graves near Tel Aviv

June 13, 2013 2:57 P.M. (Updated: June 15, 2013 1:31 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Attackers desecrated graves in a Palestinian Christian cemetery in Jaffa and damaged property nearby, in an incident that bore the hallmarks of a "price tag" hate crime, police said on Thursday.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that headstones in the Orthodox Christian graveyard in Jaffa, a mixed Palestinian-Jewish area in southern Tel Aviv, were sprayed with Hebrew graffiti and the tires of five vehicles parked nearby were slashed.

"Apparently the incident took place overnight," he told AFP, saying the attackers had daubed "price tag" and "revenge" at the site.

"Price tag" is the term given extremist hate crimes which generally target Palestinians.

Initially carried out against Palestinians in retaliation for state moves to dismantle unauthorized settler outposts, such attacks have become a much broader phenomenon unrelated to any anti-settlement moves.

They tend to involve the vandalism or destruction of property and have included arson attacks on cars, mosques and olive trees.

Two weeks ago anti-Christian graffiti was daubed on the Church of the Dormition, one of Jerusalem's leading pilgrimage sites.

Police said they suspected Jewish religious extremists of spraying the Hebrew-language insults at the site, where tradition says the Virgin Mary died.

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