Source AP ©

Fire destroys New York anti-Zionist, ultra-Orthodox Jewish group's synagogue-house

A fire destroyed the synagogue and residence of a senior rabbi of an anti-Zionist, ultra-Orthodox Jewish group whose members attended an Iran-sponsored Holocaust denial conference in December.

Local police and fire investigators said the blaze in Monsey, in Rockland County north of New York City, on Sunday night was considered suspicious because the group, Neturei Karta, has been the target of threats, the local Journal News reported on its Web site.

Police would not confirm with The Associated Press whether the blaze was considered suspicious.

No one was injured in the fire at Yeshivas Bais Yehudi. The senior rabbi who lived there was in London.

Rabbi Yisroel Dovid of Neturei Karta confirmed the fire and said that the group suspects arson because of previous threats.

"There's no question that the issue is to stifle the opposition to Zionism," he said by telephone early Monday morning.

Rabbi Moshe Beck, a senior rabbi for the group, lived on the top floor of the building, Dovid said.

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