TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Vatican asks Israel to safeguard holy sites

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Thursday, May 8, 2014, 6:33 p.m.
 

JERUSALEM — The Roman Catholic official in charge of the Vatican's properties in the Holy Land on Thursday urged Israel to protect Christian holy sites as a result of a number of vandalism attacks on churches and monasteries before a visit by Pope Francis.

Vandals have recently scribbled anti-Arab and anti-Christian graffiti on several Christian holy sites and properties, including an attack this week on the Vatican's Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem.

Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency says it fears there could be similar attacks as the pope's visit approaches at the end of the month. He is scheduled to visit Jordan, the West Bank and Israel from May 24 to 26.

The “Custody of the Holy Land” issued a statement expressing concern about the attacks and said the uptick in violence appeared to be connected to the visit. It called on Israel to “work urgently against extremist elements” to ensure peace and safeguard Christian holy places.

In recent years, vandals believed to be Jewish extremists have attacked mosques, Christian holy sites, Arab properties and even Israeli military bases and vehicles in Israel and the West Bank to protest what they perceive to be the Israeli government's pro-Palestinian policies. The attacks are known as “price tag.”

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Thursday that police had arrested a 25-year-old Jewish extremist who confessed to involvement in at least 10 vandalism attacks aimed at Arab targets.

Rosenfeld said police have “stepped up” patrols and surveillance across the country, and that thousands of police officers would be deployed during the pope's visit to ensure it goes smoothly.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Iraqi forces complete recapture of Tikrit
  2. Missile strike destroys dairy factory in Yemen, killing 35
  3. Struggle continues for Iran nuclear accord
  4. Antarctica yields life in extremest of conditions, so what about on another planet?
  5. Martial law replaced in Thailand by security order
  6. ‘Birth tourism’ business booming in China
  7. Oil platform erupts in flames off Mexico
  8. Delivery of biggest warship since WWII another sign of expanding Japanese military
  9. Saudi-led attacks seen as escalating violence in Yemen
  10. Russians blame Western sanctions for recession fed by oil price drop
  11. Airstrikes intensify in Yemen as Egypt, Saudis consider ground forces