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Israeli president to protect Christian sites
Israeli president pledges to protect Christian sites after graffiti attacks
By The Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) ' Israel's President Shimon Peres has promised the Roman Catholic Church that the country will step up efforts to combat the vandalism of Christian holy sites by suspected Jewish extremists.

Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who is the Vatican's custodian of religious sites in the Holy Land, asked the president earlier this week to intervene following the spraying of graffiti on two Christian churches in Jerusalem in February.

In a Tuesday letter to Pizzaballa, Peres wrote that he has received assurances from Israeli law enforcement pledging to redouble their efforts to find the culprits and protect the sites.

Peres wrote: "Please accept my deep shock at these events, and my hope for continuing a life of tolerance and mutual respect in Jerusalem and all over the country."

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