Mount of Olive graves smashed, trees set on fire
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Mount of Olive graves smashed, trees set on fire

Police searching for desecrators of 3,000-year-old Jewish burial site

A view of tombstones vandalized in the Mount of Olives cemetery on June 23, 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
A view of tombstones vandalized in the Mount of Olives cemetery on June 23, 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Mount of Olives cemetery was vandalized overnight Wednesday, with gravestones smashed and trees and bushes set ablaze.

Firefighters extinguished the flames, and police were seeking the perpetrators.

The Mount of Olives overlooks Jerusalem’s Old City and has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years. It holds an estimated 150,000 graves.

The site has been a flashpoint for violence in past months, with frequent vandalism of graves and near-weekly attacks on Jewish visitors by Palestinian youths.

Last month, Israel Police’s deputy commander, Avshalom Feld, said that the new national police commissioner would have to invest a significant amount of time dealing with the violence in East Jerusalem.

“The incidents we’re dealing with are vandalism and desecration of graves, shootings, stabbings, car-ramming attacks, rock-throwing, firecracker throwing, arson, attacks against security guards and police officers, camera-smashing and road-blocking,” said Feld, during a tour with Knesset members of the Mount of Olives cemetery.

Marissa Newman contributed to this report.

 

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