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Christian Cars Stoned in Nazareth

April 9, 1999

NAZARETH, Israel (AP) _ Cars driven by Christians were stoned along Nazareth’s main road as sectarian tensions in Jesus’ boyhood town continued to swell.

Two cars were damaged in Thursday’s attack, but the drivers escaped unharmed, police spokesman Moshe Berkovitz said Friday. No arrests were made.

Muslim-Christian violence erupted Sunday over a downtown plot of land near the Church of the Annunciation, where tradition says the Angel Gabriel told Jesus’ mother Mary she was pregnant.

The Christian mayor, backed by the Israeli government, wants to build a Venetian-style plaza next to the church in time for millennium celebrations. Muslim activists say the land belongs to the Islamic Trust and want to build a large mosque at the site.

Meanwhile, 150 Jewish peace activists protested Friday over the construction of an apartment complex in the West Bank town of Hebron.

The activists denounced the new settlement as a danger to peace as they demonstrated outside Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs. The tomb is holy to both Muslims and Jews as the traditional burial site of several biblical figures.

Some 450 Jewish settlers live among 130,000 Palestinians in Hebron. Israeli troops patrol the downtown area to protect the settlers, while 80 percent of the city is under Palestinian control.

Violence has broken out frequently between settlers and Palestinians, and between Palestinians and Israeli troops.

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