WWI graves in Gaza City damaged


LONDON (JTA) — The graves of British and Australian World War I soldiers buried in Gaza City suffered heavy damage.

Representatives of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Britain expressed their “distress” at the damage caused to the graves of soldiers who died during the war and were buried in the Commonwealth war cemetery in Gaza City.

The Israeli army claims that the damage was caused when a weapons cache belonging to militants blew up, causing secondary explosions, according to reports.

More than 3,500 soldiers are buried in the cemetery, most of them British. There are also graves of Australian soldiers and more than 700 Turks, who were buried following heavy battles between British and Ottoman forces.

In 2006, the Israeli government paid about $150,000 for damages to the cemetery.

Representatives of the commission plan to assess the damage once it is safe for them to travel in the area. They promised to repair the damaged headstones and restore the cemetery to its former state.

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