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Israel moving ahead with Mugrabi Gate work

Feb. 11, 2007 at 5:48 PM

JERUSALEM, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Israel's Cabinet voted to move ahead with renovations on Jerusalem's Mugrabi Gate over the protests of Muslims who say it threatens the al-Aqsa Mosque.

Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Education Minister Yuli Tamir and Minister-without-portfolio Raleb Majadele abstained in Sunday's vote, YNet News reported.

Construction at the gate leading to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City brought protests by Muslims, who say it will damage the mosque, Islam's third holiest site, YNet News said. Rioters and police clashed there Friday night.

"The handful of Arabs who are rioting in protest of the construction at the Mugrabi Gate in Jerusalem due to false information are trying to drag us into a new confrontation, but there will not be a third initifada," Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter said Sunday on a visit to the Mugrabi Gate, YNet News reported.

"The Mugrabi Gate was destroyed in a flood and was rebuilt haphazardly -- it cannot remain in this condition," Dichter said.

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