Remains discovered of soldiers who served in Jerusalem before 1948
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Remains discovered of soldiers who served in Jerusalem before 1948

Bodies are found with uniforms, boots and helmets in East Jerusalem village, but no identifying marks

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

ZAKA rescue workers uncover the remains of soldiers in the East Jerusalem village of Sur Baher on March 9, 2017.  (Nati Shapiro, ZAKA Search and Rescue)
ZAKA rescue workers uncover the remains of soldiers in the East Jerusalem village of Sur Baher on March 9, 2017. (Nati Shapiro, ZAKA Search and Rescue)

Construction workers in East Jerusalem have discovered the remains and uniforms of two men, believed to be from soldiers who served in the area before the creation of the State of Israel, rescue workers said Thursday.

The skeletons were found Wednesday during excavations in the East Jerusalem village of Sur Baher. Israel emergency response team ZAKA was called in to try to identify the bodies.

Chaim Blech, a spokesperson for ZAKA, told The Times of Israel that based on the equipment found, including a helmet and boots, the remains of the soldiers could be dated back to before the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, but the nationalities of the men could not be definitively determined.

“It’s possible the report will determine in a few days who they were, but it may be that you would never be able to tell. We couldn’t see anything identifying a unit or the color of the uniform. You couldn’t see anything,” Blech said.

The remains have been sent to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv for identification, he said.

The Palestinian news site Ma’an on Thursday cited an eye-witness in Sur Baher who said the bodies dated back to the June 1967 War, and were found on the site of a former Jordanian military base called the Bell. This was not confirmed.

Israel conquered East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war.

The Jordanian daily al-Ghad reported that Jordan’s foreign ministry was following the development through its embassy in Tel Aviv.

Sur Baher sits right along the 1948 Armistice line where the Jordanian Arab Legion was camped out during its siege of Israel’s capital.

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