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Israel razes four Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem

Israeli authorities on Monday demolished four Palestinian homes in annexed east Jerusalem that had been built without construction permits, police and residents said.

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities on Monday demolished four Palestinian homes in annexed east Jerusalem that had been built without construction permits, police and residents said.

A total of 20 people lived in the four buildings, two of them located in the Issawiya neighbourhood and two in Beit Hanina, occupants told AFP.

They had been served demolition orders because they did not have the necessary construction permits, police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.

She added the demolitions went ahead without incident.

The Palestinian governor of Jerusalem, Adnan al-Husseini, told official Voice of Palestine radio it was an attempt to "isolate these areas" from the rest of Arab east Jerusalem.

Husseini also lamented the Supreme Court's rejection Sunday of a petition against constructing a highway that would link Jerusalem to the southern settlement blocs of Gush Etzion and Har Homa, cutting right through the Palestinian town of Beit Safafa.

In 2013, Israel destroyed 99 buildings in annexed east Jerusalem, leaving 298 people homeless, according to United Nations humanitarian affairs agency OCHA.

Palestinians and human rights groups in the city say Israel rarely grants the permits, forcing residents to build homes without them.

Israel defines the whole of Jerusalem as its "eternal and indivisible" capital, while the Palestinians claim the eastern sector, captured during the 1967 Six-Day War and unilaterally annexed shortly after, as the capital of the state to which they aspire.

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