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Ancient mosaic floor in Tiberias irreparably damaged

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An ancient mosaic on the floor of a fourth century synagogue in Tiberias was irreparably damaged.

Some of the mosaic tiles at the Hammat Tiberias synagogue in northern Israel were smashed into tiny pieces and other parts were deeply scratched in an attack that occurred between Monday night and Tuesday morning. Graffiti also was sprayed on the site.

The damage reportedly will cost millions of dollars to repair.

The Israel Antiquities Authority suspects that haredi Orthodox extremists opposed to archeological excavations of ancient graves caused the damage, Haaretz reported. Graffiti at the site read, "on each grave — a site” and “a response over the years.”

The mosaic is the earliest such synagogue mosaic to have been discovered in Israel.

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