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British, Italian war graves desecrated in Libya

Sunday, March 04, 2012 - 01:36

Mar. 4 - Armed men smash the graves of British and Italian soldiers killed during World War Two, in an act of vandalism that bares the hallmarks of radical Islamists. Andrew Raven reports.

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Amateur video shows armed men desecrating a World War Two-era cemetery in eastern Libya. The footage, posted to a social media website, captures them uprooting headstones of British and Italian soldiers in the city of Benghazi. At one point, the men, believed to be fundamentalist Muslims, take a sledgehammer to smash a metal and stone cross. In the background people can he heard saying: "This is the grave of a Christian" and "These are dogs." The video has outraged many in Libya, where European support was vital in ousting long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi last year. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MUFTAH ABU AZAIH, BENGHAZI RESIDENT, SAYING: "This action was internal but has far reaching political implications for the countries that stood with us like France, Britain, Germany, all the world stood with us during our hard times." It also drew stern words from officials in Britain. SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE MINISTER, JEREMY BROWNE, SAYING: "Well like millions of other people, I've been absolutely appalled and shocked by the terrible pictures we've seen of the desecration of war graves in Libya." The cemetery is the final resting place of servicemen who died in North Africa during and after the Second World War. Andrew Raven, Reuters

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British, Italian war graves desecrated in Libya

Sunday, March 04, 2012 - 01:36