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Nazareth Mosque blocked

The Israeli government on Wednesday ordered a halt to all work on a controversial mosque being built on the doorstep of the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. A senior government official told the press that the Israeli cabinet had unanimously decided to suspend construction until a new plan was drawn up. The mosque had met fierce opposition both within the Holy Land and internationally, including from the Vatican, as well as from both Christian and moderate Muslim leaders. Israel had granted permission for the construction to an Islamic group in 1999, despite plans by the local city government to use the space for a square to accommodate Jubilee Year pilgrims. The ruling also contradicted an independent commission's recommendation against construction on the site, Critics said Israel has been using the controversy in the country's largest Arab city to sow division between Christians and Muslims or to garner Israeli Arab votes in elections.

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Daily Telegraph Report