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Catholic patriarch condemns vandals' attacks on churches in Holy Land

Catholic World News - April 03, 2014

The Latin-rite Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem has strongly condemned an attack by vandals on a Catholic shrine near Jerusalem, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reports.

Archbishop Fouad Twal said incidents like that in which blasphemous graffiti were spray-painted on the walls of the Shrine of Our Lady at Deir Rafat are “bad for us Christians, but also bad for Israel.” The vandals also slashed the tires of cars parked at the shrine.

Authorities suspect that the vandals were members of the “Price Tag” movement, a militant Jewish youth group that strongly supports the building of new Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory. While the group regularly targets Palestinian properties, Christian institutions have been special targets because attacks on them prompt international attention.

"We realized that in our Diocese this year, there has been an increase in acts of vandalism carried out by extremists that affected some twenty holy places or places of worship,” Patriarch Twal told ACN. Vandals have struck recently at Christian cemeteries and churches in and around Jerusalem, and at a Trappist abbey. The Patriarch denounced these attacks in his Christmas message in December 2013.

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