Israel demolishes West Bank mosque



Ramallah: Israeli forces demolished a mosque in the West Bank and arrested eight Palestinians in separate raids, Palestinian sources said Tuesday.

An Israeli team with military vehicles tore down the only mosque of Mafqarra village for the second time in two years, residents said. The village is situated near Hebron city.

Israel Radio said the mosque, with a kindergarten in second floor, was built without a license. Israel retains security and administrative control in Area C of the West Bank (according to Oslo peace accords signed in 1993, the West Bank was divided into areas A, B and C).

Kamel Hmaid, Hebron''s governor, condemned the demolition of the mosque. "This is a collective punishment," he told Xinhua.

He noted that the mosque was destroyed after the visit of European Union diplomats to the village, considering the demolishing as "an Israeli challenge to the countries that stood beside the Palestinian right."

Hmaid said that Israel was sending a message to the world that it was against Thursday voting in the United Nations, which upgraded the status of Palestine to a non-member observer state.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army arrested eight Palestinians in Nablus city in northern West Bank. The arrests were part of the raids in Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank.

Xinhua-ANI