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Israel alters Jerusalem street name to avoid Hamas association

Aug. 20, 2014 5:48 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 22, 2014 6:51 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli municipality authorities in East Jerusalem recently changed the name of a street named after a companion of the Prophet Muhammad because it is shared with a Hamas spokesman, locals told Ma'an Tuesday.

Palestinian residents in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah north of the Old City said that municipality staff had torn down signs on "Abu Ubaida" street and replaced them with "Bahaa al-Din."

Abu Ubaida is the name of a spokesman for Hamas' military wing that has enjoyed a surge in popularity among Palestinians in recent weeks, amid an Israeli assault on Gaza that has killed more than 2,000.

Locals told Ma'an that they believed the change was likely due to Israeli awareness of the spokesman's rising popularity as his statements have been translated for Hebrew-speaking audiences.

Locals also stressed that the street had been named Abu Ubeida for years and the name referred to Abu Ubaida Ibn al-Jarrah, who was one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad, and not to the spokesman.

Although a Palestinian neighborhood of East Jerusalem -- which has been militarily occupied by Israel since 1967 -- Sheikh Jarrah has in recent years come under sustained attack by Jewish settlers, who have evicted locals from their homes in a bid to build Israeli settlements.

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