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Poland's Justice Minister said yesterday that he had suspended permission for the exhumation of the remains of hundreds of Jews massacred by their Polish neighbours and buried in a mass grave in the town of Jedwabne in 1941.

Lech Kaczynski said he will soon meet with Jewish representatives to consult on the matter. Jews have objected to the exhumation on religious grounds.

The Institute of National Remembrance, which is investigating the massacre, wants to exhume the remains to establish how many people died. It also wants to verify the existence of other graves from the massacre.

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"There are some elements that still need to be rethought," Mr. Kaczynski said on Zet radio. "The decision to give such permission has been suspended."

A spokesman for the governor of the northeastern Podlaskie province, Krystyna Lukaszuk, said Saturday that permission had been given for the exhumation.

Authorities want to erect a memorial to the victims and close off the area around the grave in time for July 10, the 60th anniversary of the pogrom. AP

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