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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
'Arson' at Tel Aviv crematorium
Ultra-orthodox Jew praying
Ultra-orthodox Jews believe cremation is a desecration of the dead
A commercial crematorium in Israel has been heavily damaged by fire, hours after its secret location was revealed in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspaper.

The crematorium near Tel Aviv opened two years ago to fierce criticism from Israel's orthodox community.

Most Jews believe Jews should be buried according to religious tradition, not cremated.

Police found signs of forced entry at the site and believe Wednesday's fire was started deliberately.

It was an illegal activity, a desecration of the dead and I applaud the destruction of this building, which was destined to disappear in flames
Yehuda Meshi Zahav
Zaka organisation
Earlier in the day, an ultra-orthodox newspaper had published the location of the Alei Shalechet crematorium.

The site's owners had kept its exact location secret, fearing possible attacks from religious groups.

One of the owners, Alon Nativ, told Israeli Army Radio he had received anonymous death threats over the past two years.

A founder of Israel's Zaka organisation, a voluntary emergency response team which collects body parts from accident or bombing sites for burial, denied his group was involved.

However, Yehuda Meshi Zahav told Israeli Army Radio he thought an arson attack on the crematorium would be justified.

"It was an illegal activity, a desecration of the dead and I applaud the destruction of this building, which was destined to disappear in flames."




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