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Ultra-Orthodox groups announced on Sunday they would continue to run a bus route segregating men and women in Jerusalem, Israel Radio reported.

The announcement came despite efforts by the Transportation Ministry to prevent the operation of the publicly-funded bus route that runs from the capital's Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) neighborhoods to the Western Wall.

The Rabbinic Committee for Transportation Affairs began operating the route on Thursday, according to Israel Radio. It said the ministry had threatened the companies that ran the buses.

For its part, sources in the ministry were quoted by Israel Radio as saying action on the matter was pending a High Court decision, and that a joint committee with ultra-Orthodox members is also examining the issue.

The High Court of Justice in January told the ministry to look into problems on the bus routes, following the petition of the religious author Naomi Ragen and the Religious Action Center.

The petition was submitted after a number of female passengers said they were humiliated and even attacked for not using seats reserved for women at the back the buses, or because of their clothing.

Justices Elyakim Rubinstein, Salim Joubran and Yoram Danziger stopped short of ordering bus companies to stop the "mehadrin" lines but asked the Transportation Ministry to form a committee within 30 days to study the problems and recommend changes.