From Reuters, with thanks to Miriam:
GAZA, May 10 (Reuters) – Palestinians with axes and shovels desecrated 33 graves in a Commonwealth war cemetery in the Gaza Strip to protest against reported abuses of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. and British soldiers, witnesses said on Monday.
Reprinted photographs of soldiers apparently mistreating and humiliating Iraqi detainees were affixed to dozens of untouched gravestones in the British-administered cemetery in Gaza City for 3,661 soldiers who died in two world wars.
Palestinian militant factions said they had nothing to do with the assault in the well-maintained cemetery dotted with flower beds, saying Islam forbade attacks on sites of the deceased regardless of religion or politics.
Essam Jeradeh, head gardener at the cemetery, said he and relatives who have tended the site for decades as a family business noticed about eight people standing by some graves some distance away on Sunday evening.
“At first we thought they were visitors paying respects. But as we approached we realised they were sabotaging the graves. We ran at them, screaming, and they fled,” he told Reuters on Monday amid tombstones broken into pieces or toppled intact.
“They (the dead) had been sleeping here for 90 years and no one disturbed them,” said Jeradeh, whose father was awarded a British MBE for his care of the cemetery established in 1917.
Photographs pasted on other tombstones showed a U.S. soldier dragging an Iraqi prisoner along a floor with a leash and a British soldier apparently urinating on a detainee.
“The curse will chase you forever” and “we shall avenge” were scrawled in Arabic on some of the photographs.
“These posters show it was an act of anger over the images coming from Iraqi prisons,” said Jeradeh’s son Ibrahim.
“We have been informed that several graves were desecrated last night at the Imperial War Graves Commission Cemetery in Gaza. We are investigating,” a British embassy spokesman in nearby Israel said.