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Israel issues evacuation orders to 20 Jerusalem families

Sept. 18, 2013 10:55 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 18, 2013 10:55 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities issued evacuation orders to 20 Palestinian families in the al-Qarmi neighborhood of of Jerusalem's Old City on Wednesday, locals said.

Israeli municipality staff posted orders reading "Beware, building at risk, do not enter" on three properties in the Old City. Three staff members from Israel's Gihon water company were also present, and took pictures of damaged water pipes around the properties.

Israeli authorities gave the home-owners 30 days to repair the buildings, after which time they will be fined 150 shekels ($42) per day.

"The Israeli municipality asked us to evacuate 4 rooms on the top floor due to cracks visible from outside the house, and they told me I cannot enter the house," home-owner Ismail al-Asmar said.

Thareea al-Jaabati told Ma'an that 30 days was not enough time to repair the buildings, adding that she would not give up her house even it it means sleeping outside to protect it.

Salim Wahba, another resident, said that it would take at least two months to repair the properties.

"I will not leave my house unless I have another option, this will not take a month or two and the month period we were given is not enough. Winter is coming up and we can't repair the houses in the rain."

Wahba said the Gihon water company had neglected pipes in the area for years, which is why they were so badly maintained.
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