• ISRAEL \ Mar 02, 2005
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    75% of Maghar's Christian students still absent from school
75% of Maghar's Christian students still absent from school The initial brawl between Christian and Druze youths broke out after rumors spread that some Christian youths had created photo images of Druze girls as nude models and posted them on the Internet.

After several days, the violence spread as gunshots were fired, shops and vehicles were vandalized and stone-throwing mobs clashed with each other.

In response to Melchior's comments, Labor MK Amram Mitzna on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to set up a special task force to deal with issues raised in the village.

"It is disgraceful that in three weeks, close to 1,000 Christian students have not returned to their studies nor hundreds of families to their homes," Mitzna said.

Following the clashes, the heads of the Druze community and the Vatican envoy to Israel, Archbishop Monsignor Pietro Sambi, agreed on joint efforts aiming to return life in the village to normal.

During a meeting Wednesday at the home of Archbishop Sambi, the head of the Druze community, Sheikh Muafek Tarif, condemned the attacks on the Christian residents of the Maghar, and expressed the hope that the Christian residents would return to their homes, and the students to their schools.

"We are prepared to set up a team of volunteers to renovate the damaged homes, but we want help our Christian brothers," Tarif said.

Representatives of the Christian community said that the financial damage from the riots will run into the hundreds of millions. They said more than 180 cars were damaged, 30 of which were completely burnt out. In addition, 125 homes and businesses were damaged, 20 of which were set on fire.