Desecration Of War Graves- The People Newspaper- Exclusive Video Footage- ***March 2012***

We were contacted by someone who wanted to highlight the shocking desecration of British war graves in Libya.


Our contact was upset about the mindless destruction and wanted the issue brought to a wider audience.


We sent the story to The People newspaper and the story has now been picked up across all sections of the media.


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SICKENING DESTRUCTION OF WORLD WAR II GRAVES IN LIBYA



HOODED scumbags kick over ­headstones in a sickening attack on the graves of Second World War heroes in Libya.

The hate-fuelled militants invaded two Allied war cemeteries in the city of Benghazi to desecrate the final resting places of young soldiers who died fighting for freedom.

Shocking video footage of the attacks emerged on the internet yesterday and triggered fury among veterans' families and Services organisations.

The four-minute clip shows gun-toting thugs smashing up to 150 headstones to pieces, defacing a large central monument and appearing to single out Jewish graves for particularly vicious damage.

Ex-Army officer MP Patrick Mercer, whose father was CO of a unit some of the dead men served in, said: "I feel very strongly about this and hope we will receive an official apology."

The cowardly desecration, apparently sparked by US soldiers burning the Koran in Afghanistan, comes just months after British forces helped rebels topple Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Mr Mercer added: "It is particularly irritating that a country that we have helped to liberate should then desecrate graves of the very people who have been trying to help them.

"I trust our Government will make very serious remonstrations with the Libyan government."

Benghazi, a key Mediterranean port, was the scene of several fierce battles in the North African campaign between the British Eighth Army – the Desert Rats – and Italian and German foes. Thousands died on both sides when it changed hands five times as fighting raged back and forth in 1941 and 1942.

The Allied cemeteries – immaculately maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at UK taxpayers' expense – hold the bodies of troops from many different countries including Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and India.

Mr Mercer's father Eric commanded the 14th Sherwood Foresters, whose casualties from the battle of El Alamein were buried at Benghazi. He went on: "Soldiers from my father's battalion are lying in these graveyards. I trust suitable reparations are paid."

An elderly woman who has visited her brother's grave at Benghazi and thought it a "beautiful, peaceful" location told of her shock at the attacks.

Olive Kirby, 84, from Durham, said: "It made me angry and nervous. I can't believe anyone would want to do something like that."

Olive's brother George Colwell, a former railwayman, was killed in action aged 31 in 1942 while serving with the Royal Artillery.

Among others buried at Benghazi is Scottish-born Lieutenant-Colonel Geoffrey Keyes, who was only 24 when he was killed winning the VC in a daring commando raid on an enemy HQ.

The internet film clearly shows graves being mindlessly damaged and a large monument known as the Cross of Sacrifice being smashed up with a hammer.At least one attacked grave is seen to be inscribed with the Star of David, denoting a Jewish soldier. And a thug looking at another yells to the mob: "Come see, there's Israeli writing, Hebrew, on the tombstone."

Disgrace

The desecration was condemned by Jim Tuckwell, who is compiling a history of the Durham Light Infantry which has five men buried there.

Mr Tuckwell said: "It's a disgrace what has happened to the resting places of these men and their comrades.

"If these people have decided to attack the graves because of the burning of the Koran they should realise there was no British involvement in that.

"And they should show respect to those people who died so far away from home, fighting to protect their country, and leave them in peace."

Athol Hendry, of military charity the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, said: "It's terribly sad. The graves of men who died fighting for their country should be treated with respect."

The wrecking spree is said to have taken place on February 24 but the video footage did not come to light until yesterday.

One appalled YouTube user wrote: "I'm Libyan, but our behaviours and religious teachings do not allow us to do that.

"Also they are human. After they die no matter what they were only god can decide. I'm disappointed of this. May almighty god forgive us."

However another user in the Middle East actually congratulated the thugs in a sick rant against "colonial" European powers. He sneered: "Well done! What are these European graves doing on North African soil anyway? Libya was colonised and used as a battlefield. Destroying their last traces is the least thing they can do. So i say f*** WW2 servicemen."

Officials at the Libyan foreign ministry were said to be deeply upset and angry over the damage.

Libya's Chief Mufti, Sheikh Sadiq Abdurrahman Ghariani, said the vandalism went against Islam and the law.

A Commonwealth War Graves Commission spokesman confirmed that two Allied cemeteries had been targeted. There were no reports of staff being ­attacked or injured.

He added: "Both will be restored to a standard befitting the sacrifice of those commemorated at Benghazi. In the ­meantime we will ensure that temporary markers are erected over the graves."

The Ministry of Defence would not ­comment last night



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