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Israeli bulldozers destroy mosque, medical center in East Jerusalem

March 26, 2014 10:19 A.M. (Updated: March 27, 2014 11:24 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian-owned building that housed a mosque, a medical center, and apartments in East Jerusalem early Wednesday, witnesses told Ma'an.

Locals said Israeli police and special forces stormed Khallat al-Ein square in the al-Tur neighborhood east of the Old City of Jerusalem and surrounded a building owned by Ghadir Abu Ajram Abu Ghaliya.

Officers then evacuated the two-story building and neutralized gas and water networks before bulldozers began the demolition.

Abu Ghaliya told Ma'an that his building was demolished "without prior notice" from Israeli authorities.

The first floor of the building held a mosque and a medical center, while the second floor consisted of two apartments housing 11 family members, Abu Ghaliya said.

He said that he and his family had tried for 18 years to obtain a construction permits from the Jerusalem municipality. Though the mayor of Jerusalem "approved construction in the area, ... the Israeli ministry of interior opposed construction."

After the Israeli Supreme Court ruled to delay the demolition, a hearing on the issue was scheduled for May, Abu Ghaliya told Ma'an.

The Jerusalem municipality demolished another home belonging to Abu Ghaliya in 2007, he added.

Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It has demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

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