Vandalized WWII-era graves in Libya to be restored
updated 12:23 PM EST, Mon March 5, 2012
- NEW: "This could take some time," war graves commission says
- The new Libyan government condemns the desecration of some 200 graves
- Vandalism of Christian and Jewish graves was recorded and posted on YouTube
- On Sunday, Britain urged Libya's leadership to investigate
(CNN) -- Two World War II-era cemeteries that were vandalized over the weekend by armed men in Benghazi will be restored, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission said in a posting on its website.
Hundreds of gravestones marking the bodies of Christian and Jewish soldiers were kicked from their locations, many of them broken, in the Benghazi War Cemetery and the Benghazi British Military Cemetery, the CWGC said. "Both cemeteries will be restored to a standard befitting the sacrifice of those commemorated at Benghazi, but this could take some time because we will need to source replacement stones," the organization said.
"We will also need to be sure that it's safe for the detailed work to be carried out, but in the meantime we will ensure that temporary markers are erected over the graves. We have no reports of any maintenance staff being injured in the attack."
Britain urged Libya's new leadership Sunday to investigate the desecration of the more than 200 Commonwealth war graves that were vandalized, acts filmed and posted on YouTube.
Libya's National Transitional Council said Sunday it regrets what happened, calling it "unethical, irresponsible and criminal," and promised to prosecute those responsible.
"We strongly reject these acts that are rejected by the Islamic faith," the NTC said in a statement. "Such practices do not represent at all the local public opinion and they contradict the Islamic principles that emphasize and urge the respect of religions and beliefs."
In the YouTube video, a group of men is seen walking around the graves, kicking down headstones and using sledgehammers to chip away at a cross at the front of the cemetery.
A voice off camera says, "Destroy the cross, these filthy dogs." Other voices mock inscriptions on the gravestones, including one engraved with the Star of David.
The description of the video says it is a response to the recent burnings of Qurans by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but CNN cannot independently confirm that.
Benghazi was the birthplace of last year's Libyan revolution. The 1,500 graves in the cemeteries hold the bodies of servicemen who died during and after World War II.
There was no evidence of damage to the graves themselves, only the headstones, the British Foreign Office said.
CNN's Saad Abedine, Ashley Gallagher, and Bharati Naik contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.