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Israel demolishes Bedouin village in Negev for 70th time

June 12, 2014 12:14 P.M. (Updated: June 14, 2014 3:25 P.M.)
BEERSHEBA (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Thursday demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib for the 70th time, witnesses told Ma'an.

Hundreds of Israeli police officers and special forces deployed in the area at dawn and closed all roads leading to the Negev village.

A large number of residents spent the night inside the village cemetery to try and prevent Israeli bulldozers from demolishing nearby structures.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri told Ma'an that the cemetery would not be destroyed, but several other "illegal" structures were demolished under the supervision of Negev deputy police chief Elan Peretz.

Bedouin MK Taleb Abu Arar, former MK Talab al-Sani and dozens of activists were present in al-Araqib when the demolitions took place.

Israel considers al-Araqib and most other Bedouin villages in the Negev illegal, while Bedouins say it is their ancestral land.

There are about 260,000 Bedouin in Israel, mostly living in and around the Negev in the arid south. More than half live in unrecognized villages without utilities and many also live in extreme poverty.

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