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Settlers take over building near Hebron mosque

Dec. 3, 2013 3:05 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 3, 2013 6:51 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) - Israeli settlers moved chairs and furniture into a building in Hebron's Old City on Tuesday in an attempt to take over the property, official news agency Wafa reported Tuesday.

Hijazi Abu Sneineh, an official at the Ibrahimi Mosque, said that settlers brought hundreds of chairs into the building, indicating that they intend to turn the Budairi building into a Jewish prayer area.

The settler presence in the area could cause tension with local Palestinians as the building is located on a road leading to the mosque.

Hebron is a frequent site of clashes due to the presence of 500 Israeli settlers in the Old City, many of whom have illegally occupied Palestinian houses and forcibly removed the original inhabitants. They are protected by thousands of Israeli soldiers.

In 1994, an Israeli settler opened fire on Muslim worshipers in the Ibrahimi Mosque, killing 29 and injuring more than 100 Palestinians.

A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.

The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque -- also split into a synagogue referred to as the Cave of the Patriarchs -- and the once thriving Shuhada street, now just shuttered shops fronts and closed homes.
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