The Vatican has been digging a secret tunnel in Jerusalem in order to exhume King David's DNA and resurrect the Messiah, a rabbi has claimed.

The Regavim Movement, a group dedicated to the protection of Israel's national resources, filed a petition against the Jerusalem Municipality last week demanding they take action against the tunnel.

It's claimed there is a passage approximately 1,970 feet long and 5 feet wide under the Church of the Dormition on Mount Zion, on which construction was completed about 12 years ago.

Regavim alleges Catholic authorities built the tunnel from the main building of the Dormition Abbey to the residences of the clergy in the Beit Yosef building.

The group also says the passage was constructed without permission and may have damaged archaeological artefacts during the unsupervised digging process.

But one spiritual leader is convinced the purpose of the tunnel is far more sinister than simple transportation.

Rabbi Daniel Asor of the Yanar Institute claims it was built to allow members of the Church of the Dormition to exhume the remains of King David (the King of Israel who killed the giant Goliath), who is believed to have been buried in Mt Zion.

Asor has also alleged that the church is acting on instructions from the Vatican, which he says has a plan to collect DNA samples from King David's bones.

The Vatican will then use his DNA to clone an entirely new human, who they will then attempt to fool the world into believing is the returned Messiah.

One of the key differences between Catholicism and Judaism is belief in the coming of the Messiah.

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Catholics believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God and the Messiah predicted to come and save the world from its sins in the Old Testament, and are holding out for his Second Coming one day.

However, believers in Judaism don't believe Jesus was the son of God, and are still waiting for the first coming of the Messiah.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has long denied that the passage under the Church of the Dormition even exists.

But the Jerusalem Municipality recently bowed to pressure and confirmed that there is an "old tunnel" in the subterranean area.

Official documentation revealed the 150-metre-long tunnel consists of several underground rooms containing ancient artefacts.

Despite these findings, the Municipality still has not charged the Church municipal land taxes for the illegal tunnel.

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