“Muslim Mob" Destroys British War Cemetery in Libya – Truth!

“Muslim Mob” Destroys British War Cemetery in Libya – Truth!

Summary of eRumor: 

A video allegedly shows a Muslim mob of men destroying a cemetery in Libya where British war veterans are buried.

The Truth:
This claim is true.
A video that was posted on YouTube in March of 2012 shows a group of men, some holding rifles, kicking over headstones at a cemetery. A Jewish Star of David can be seen etched on one of the headstones, and a number of men attempt to smash a tall concrete cross with sledgehammers in the video. A caption posted with the video roughly translated from Italian reads, “Rebels (NATO mercenaries) destroy a cemetery in Libya. NATO-al Qaeda rebels destroy Christian and Jewish graves.”

The video was shot at Benghazi War Cemetery in the Libyan city of Benghazi. More than 1,200 Commonwealth troops who died in World War II battles in North Africa are buried there. In all, the vandals damaged about 200 headstones at the Benghazi War Cemetery. The vandals then moved on to a second cemetery, the nearby Benghazi British Military Cemetery, and damaged about a quarter of the graves there, Al Jazeera reported in 2012:

“The National Transitional Council (Libya’s interim leadership after Muammar Gaddafi was forced out) has close ties with Western countries after a NATO bombing campaign helped it to topple the government of Muammar Gaddafi.

However, a minority of hardline Islamists, who are opposed to any non-Muslim presence and in some cases have formed into heavily-armed groups, have gained ground since Gaddafi’s 42-year rule ended last August. The government in Tripoli has struggled to assert its authority over these groups.

Salafists, followers of an ultra-purist interpretation of Islam, have already destroyed several tombs of Muslim holy men in Libya, which they consider to be idolatrous.”

The National Transitional Council denounced the vandals and said in a statement that their actions were not “keeping with Islam.”

By April of 2012, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) said that new headstones were on order to replace the damaged ones. The group also said that both cemeteries had been “tidied up” after the attacks:

“All the broken headstones have been removed from the Benghazi War Cemetery and the Benghazi British Military Cemetery, and temporary markers have been erected on all the graves that were damaged in the attacks last month.

The cemeteries have been tidied throughout, and — in the words of Commonwealth War Graves Commission staff who’ve returned from Libya — the site looks ‘presentable’ again.

The cemeteries are “dry” sites, so there is no grass to maintain. But CWGC staff have already removed weeds and tidied around the graves.

The situation across Libya remains unpredictable, and the Foreign Office continues to advise against all but essential travel in the Benghazi area. But local CWGC staff are able to work again and their next task is to remove the remnants of the Cross of Sacrifice which was damaged in the attack on the Benghazi War Cemetery.

New headstones are on order, and will be manufactured and shipped over the coming months.”