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Israel removes gunfire barrier in disputed Jerusalem neighborhood

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Israel demolishes security barrier
  • The barrier was put up in 2001 after Palestinian sniper attacks
  • Israel says a "stable security situation" means it can be removed

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Israeli troops Sunday began dismantling a concrete barrier built to protect a disputed Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem from Palestinian sniper fire, citing improvements in security since its 2001 construction.

The barrier was built during the height of the Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s, when the neighborhood of Gilo came under periodic fire from the Palestinian West Bank town of Beit Jala. Its removal has been made possible due to "the stable security situation in the area," according to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces.

Gilo is built on land Israel occupied in the 1967 Mideast war. Israelis consider it a southern neighborhood of Jerusalem, while Palestinians consider it occupied West Bank territory.