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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered an inquiry after newspaper al-Hayat al-Jadidah printed the image (Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)

Palestine's President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered an investigation after the country's official newspaper appeared to publish an image of the Islam Prophet Mohammed.

The drawing, which appeared in Palestine's al-Hayat al-Jadidah newspaper, showed a man in long robes on top of the Earth sewing 'seeds of love' taken from a heart-shaped bag around his waist.

Underneath the image in the West Bank-based paper read a caption "Our Prophet Mohammed".

Abbas has now ordered an investigation into the cartoon being printed, adding there is a need to "take deterrent measures against the perpetrator of this grave mistake, out of respect for sacred religious symbols and foremost among them the prophets".

Following the controversy over the image, al-Hayat al-Jadidah said it had suspended those responsible and apologised for any offence caused.

The cartoonist who drew the picture, Muslim Mohammed Saba'aneh, said he did not mean to cause harm. He added that the man is not the Prophet, but "a symbol of humanity enlightened by what the Prophet Mohammed brought".

He wrote on Facebook: "The person represents a Muslim who follows the calling of our Prophet Mohammed, not Mohammed [himself]. The light surrounding him is the light of our Prophet and the goodness emanating is Islam."

The image was printed in the newspaper after Abbas joined several other world leaders on a march in Paris in the wake of the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had also caricatured Mohammed.