Three arrested for vandalizing Australian WWI cemetery
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Three arrested for vandalizing Australian WWI cemetery

Police question Jewish youths who toppled headstones in the Beersheba War Cemetery in southern Israel

Police cordon off an area of the World War I Beersheba War Cemetery after three Jewish youths were caught toppling over headstones on June 17, 2017.
Police cordon off an area of the World War I Beersheba War Cemetery after three Jewish youths were caught toppling over headstones on June 17, 2017.

Three Jewish youths were arrested on Saturday after they were caught vandalizing the Beersheba War Cemetery in southern Israel, police said.

A passerby reported to police that the three — two minors aged 14 and 17, and another man aged 18 — were causing damage to tombstones in the graveyard, known locally as the Australian cemetery.

Police arrested the three, and took them to a nearby station for questioning. Pictures released by the police showed several headstones that had been toppled.

A police statement noted that the three suspects were Jewish, and that the cemetery served Christians, but did not indicate whether the incident was religiously motivated or not.

A photo of a headstone toppled by vandals in the Beersheba War Cemetery on 17 June 2017. (Israel Police)
A photo of a headstone toppled by vandals in the Beersheba War Cemetery on 17 June 2017. (Israel Police)

There are more than 1,200 Commonwealth serviceman buried there who fought with General Edmund Allenby when he captured the Holy Land from the Turks toward the end of World War I; 67 of them are unidentified.

The cemetery was founded after the city in the Negev Desert was captured by the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade who charged over the Turkish trenches into Beersheba.

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