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Israeli settlers occupy building in East Jerusalem's Old City

May 9, 2016 12:28 P.M. (Updated: May 9, 2016 8:59 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli settlers on Monday morning occupied a “huge” building in the al-Sadiya neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, a local activist told Ma’an.

Alaa al-Haddad said some 40 right-wing settlers arrived and entered the building, then performed Jewish prayers in the courtyard.

The three-floor building, he said, has a vast courtyard and a view over Al-Aqsa Mosque. The property belongs to the al-Yozbeshi family.

The owners were not in the building when the settlers arrived. It is not clear why the settlers occupied the building.

Last week, a Palestinian family regained access to their house in East Jerusalem, ending a lengthy legal battle which began when an organization of Israeli settlers took over their home and the homes of 22 other families a year and a half earlier.

East Jerusalem is internationally recognized as Palestinian territory, but Israel occupied it in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never considered legitimate by the international community.

Palestinians charge that the forceful eviction of Palestinian families is part of a larger strategy to "Judaize" Jerusalem and deny Palestinians the right to live in the holy city.

More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

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