Eyewitness reports claim that the Israel Defence Forces have destroyed a mosque in Khirbet Yirza, in the east of the governorate of Tubas, al-Aghwar district in the occupied West Bank. Israeli soldiers laid siege to the village while their mechanical diggers started to tear down the mosque. No prior warnings were issued.
The reports say that during the early hours of the morning, Israeli soldiers were deployed along the periphery of the mosque and all residents were prevented from getting close to defend it. The mosque was then destroyed under the pretext that it was built without a permit. A number of huts and pens used for breeding sheep were also destroyed.
The residents of al-Khirbet confirmed that the mosque, which was the only one in the village, had been standing since 1967 and that it did have a building permit. The villagers also stated that they had added a two room extension to the mosque to help accommodate the increasing numbers of worshippers.
Khirbet Yirza has a population of around 100, the majority of whom are sheep herders and farmers. The village is isolated, having been cut off by the many Israeli barriers and army training camps that surround it. The al-Aghwar area in which it is situated has been the target of many Israeli military operations as the government pursues a policy of targeting the inhabitants in an effort to displace and dispossess them. Earlier this week, the Israelis demolished a number of houses in Abu al-Ajjaj, located in central al-Aghwar, displacing hundreds of residents.
This is not the first time that Israeli occupation forces have attacked and demolished a mosque in the occupied West Bank.
Source: C press – Palestinian Affairs