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Wednesday 14 December 2011

Mosque torched in Jerusalem in suspected attack by extremists

Mosque torched in Jerusalem in suspected attack by extremists

JERUSALEM, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Vandals torched a long-deserted mosque in central Jerusalem overnight Tuesday in what police suspect may be another attack by Jewish extremists.
The Nebi Akasha mosque, believed to have been built over the burial site of a 13th century Muslim figure and abandoned during the 1948 Middle East war, sustained light structural damage. The stone walls were blackened and anti-Arab graffiti was daubed on the walls.
Graffiti spray on the Mosque included insults to Arabs such as "Mohammed is dead" and "price tag", a term for attacks by far- right Jewish extremists on Palestinian and Arab properties. The Jewish extremists also occasionally target left-wing activists and the Israeli military.
The Jerusalem Municipality, which had recently turned the structure into a storage facility, sealed its entrance. Police and the Shin Bet internal security agency launched an investigation, Israeli media reported.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat harshly condemned the act.
"Zero tolerance should be shown to violence of any kind," he said in a statement.
In a similar incident in early October, vandals set fire to a mosque in the Bedouin village of Tuba-Zangria in northern Israel, an incident that led to clashes between the security forces and hundreds of the village's residents after the mosque had sustained heavy damage.
Police arrested several young right-wing activists residing in West Bank settlements for their suspected involvement in the attack at Tuba-Zangria, though all of them have been released.

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