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Last Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
US anti-Zionist synagogue gutted
Neturei Karta member
Neturei Karta members believe in the abolition of the state of Israel
A synagogue of an anti-Zionist Jewish group has been destroyed in a fire.

The blaze tore through a synagogue of Neturei Karta near New York and the residence of a senior rabbi.

Police have established a crime scene and are investigating the cause of the fire. The ultra-orthodox group has recently been the target of threats.

Last year, five members of the group attended a Tehran conference questioning the Holocaust and met Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Arson claims

Rabbi Moshe Beck, who lives in the building in the town of Monsey - about 30 miles (48km) from New York - was in London when the fire broke out, said Neturei Karta member Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss.

Mr Weiss said the group believes it was targeted by arsonists because it had previously received threats.

"There's no question that the issue is to stifle the opposition to Zionism," he said to AP news agency.

Police would not confirm whether they were treating the fire as suspicious.

Neturei Karta opposes the existence of the state of Israel on religious grounds.

Members of the group - whose name means "Guardians of the City" - believe Jews should live under Arab Muslim rule until the Messiah comes.


SEE ALSO
Iran defends Holocaust conference
11 Dec 06 |  Middle East

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